Wellsource, Inc. is pleased to announce that the company's founder and chairman, Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, was chosen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an industry expert panelist for a Public Forum soliciting input into the development of a new federal guidance for Health Risk Assessments (HRAs).
The CDC and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held this Forum to gather expert and public comment on the development of HRA guidance required to be in place by March 23, 2011, per the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The Act establishes a new benefit for the 46 million U.S. Medicare Part B beneficiaries: a free annual wellness visit with a physician that must include a health risk assessment. While all Medicare beneficiaries may now receive an annual HRA, only HRAs that meet the government-approved guidelines can be used for Medicare patients under the Act. CDC and CMS also expect that the guidance will inform the development and use of HRAs conducted in privately insured populations, including those persons covered by employer health care plans, and to support broader HRA use within primary care.
The CDC/CMS selected experts from industry, academia, and government to participate on the Public Forum panels at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 1-2, 2011. Dr. Hall was one of two panelists chosen to participate in the Content and Design Panel, which discussed the elements to be included in a quality HRA, the importance of factoring literacy and cultural appropriateness factors into HRA design, and the means for effectively using HRA instrument support to facilitate shared decision-making by health providers and their patients. The CDC/CMS will use the recommendations offered during the Public Forum to prepare the guidance, which is expected to be published by the end of March. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services then will use the guidance to certify whether an HRA qualifies for use by physicians for Medicare beneficiaries.
"I am honored to have been chosen as a panelist for such a critical role in the development and design of the national health risk assessment guidance," said Dr. Hall. "And I'm pleased to see evidence-based health risk assessments getting the attention they deserve from the CDC and CMS. It's gratifying that wellness is finally being embraced at a national level."