A new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal would screen more Medicare beneficiaries for depression, according to a recent memo.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force determined that that such screening for depression in adults is “reasonable and necessary for the prevention or early detection of illness or disability, and is appropriate for individuals entitled to benefits under Part A or enrolled under Part B."
Under the proposal, the screenings would take place in primary care settings, with staff that could help the physician screen results and coordinate referrals to mental health providers.
The task force reports that one in six seniors over the age of 65 suffers from depression. And it is highest in those with comorbidities including cancer, arthritis, stroke, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease. No surprise there.
So here's a thought. Would you willingly go to your physician and actually request a depression screening? I don't think so. So will they make it mandatory or will they find a way to couch it as something different in name so that the true purpose of the screening is not totally revealed?