Expert Forum: Mitigating Risk – For Our Own Health

Written by: Thomas J. Foels, M.D., M.M.M. Independent Health’s Executive Vice President & Chief Medical Officer


Most businesses these days plan and prepare for the “what-ifs” – those potential situations, big and small, that could impact their day-to-day business operations.  Although operational interruptions are rare, organizations agree it’s good business sense to have a business continuity or risk discipline in place to prevent and minimize enterprise risk. So, if it’s a good idea to have a preventive approach to mitigating risk for your business, doesn’t it also makes sense to apply a type of “risk mitigation strategy” to your personal health? Dr. Tom Foels

Staying up-to-date with your preventive care is key to maintaining and improving your health and well-being.  It’s also helpful in minimizing and even mitigating health risks. That’s because, through prevention, diseases can be detected and treated early. Even if you’re in the best shape of your life, you may unknowingly have an illness or condition that shows no signs or symptoms.

Here are some easy reminders so you can easily implement your own “risk mitigation strategy” by getting the most out of your health benefits.

  • Choose a primary care doctor. Your primary doctor is the coordinator of your care.  If you don’t have a primary care doctor, choose one who is close to home or work.  Ask a family or friend for primary care doctor recommendations.  All health plans have a list of their participating primary doctors online.
  • Communicate with your primary doctor. It’s very important so that he or she can treat you properly.  If you haven’t been to the doctor in a long time, review your past medical conditions and concerns with him or her.
  • Talk to your doctor to make sure you are up-to-date on your preventive care. If a specific chronic condition runs in your family, like diabetes or breast cancer, it’s even more important that you get screened early and often.

Not everyone realizes their health plan covers most preventive care with no copayment.  Under the Affordable Care Act, all health plans are required to cover a certain set of preventive health services at no cost to members. For example, Independent Health members receive more than 60 preventive care services and screenings with no copayment* when performed by an in-network/participating health care provider. These services include:

  • Annual Routine Checkup
  • Cholesterol Screening
  • Colonoscopy Screening
  • Diabetes Screening
  • High Blood Pressure Screening
  • Immunizations
  • Mammography Screening
  • Prostate Testing
  • Well-Child Visit
  • Well Adult Visit

In addition, preventive services are even excluded from deductibles – so those enrolled in a deductible plan can enjoy $0 preventive services right from the start.

One immediate preventive service you can take care of is your flu shot now that flu season is upon us.  While it’s important to visit your primary doctor for all your care, flu shots are also available ihlogo200ktag-rgb-weblink-2now at other convenient places like pharmacies; many employer groups may offer flu shots as well.

As your business practices risk mitigation on its operations, let’s extend the same strategy on ourselves and take the time to see your doctor for your preventive care needs.

(*Does not include procedures, injections, diagnostic services, laboratory and X-ray services, or any other services not billed as an Evaluations and Management (E&M) code.)


Disclaimer: The above commentary entails the views of the author and not necessarily the views of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.