On October 7, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) hosted a stakeholder meeting on identifying strategies to increase the number of adolescents receiving well visits per year and enhance adolescent health care for Ohio’s adolescents. Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Executive Vice President Ann Spicer represented the Academy during the meeting; OAFP members Linda Post, MD, and Ted Wymyslo, MD, also attended representing their respective employers.
ODH has identified adolescent health as a priority area within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant. The goal is to increase the number of adolescents who have a preventive services visit from 83.7% in 2011-12 survey to 87.7% by 2020.
Adolescence is a period of major physical, psychological, and social development. As adolescents move from childhood to adulthood, they assume individual responsibility for health habits, and those who have chronic health problems take on a greater role in managing those conditions. Initiation of risky behaviors is a critical health issue during adolescence, as adolescents try on adult roles and behaviors.
The Bright Futures guidelines recommend that adolescents have an annual checkup starting at age 11. The visit should cover a comprehensive set of preventive services, such as a physical examination, discussion of health-related behaviors, and immunizations. It recommends that the annual checkup include discussion of several health-related topics, including healthy eating, physician activity, substance use, sexual behavior, violence, and motor vehicle safety.