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null Time to catch up on your kids’ annual physicals

Time to catch up on your kids’ annual physicals

For Immediate Release:  2020-07-28

Contact:  Jim Redmond, (585) 238-4579

Whether your kids are back in the classroom this fall or online learning from home, now is the time to reconnect with your child’s pediatrician to catch up on annual physicals and immunizations you may have postponed because of the COVID-19 lockdown. Children ages two to 21 years old should have an annual physical to ensure they are growing and developing normally. 

Most health plans must cover a set of preventive health services for children at no cost. This includes Marketplace and Medicaid coverage. (Note: These services are free only when delivered by a doctor or other provider in the plan’s network.  https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-children/

“During an annual exam, your child’s growth will be tracked and monitored,” said Dr. Stephen Cohen, senior vice president and corporate medical director at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “The pediatrician will also ensure that immunizations are up to date, including for whooping cough, rotavirus, measles, and the flu.” 

Childhood immunizations protect against serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Children who aren’t current with their immunizations are at increased risk of catching diseases and spreading them to others.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen whooping cough outbreaks in local schools, so this isn’t an abstract concept,” said Cohen. 

Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases among children, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An annual physical provides an opportunity to review and update a child’s asthma action plan (or asthma management plan), which is a written plan developed in conjunction with the child’s doctor. The plan details the child’s daily treatment, such as what kind of medicines to take, when to take them, and when to call the doctor or go to the emergency room. 

“A review of claims data shows an annual spike in the number of children’s asthma-related medical visits, asthma attacks and hospitalizations from late August through late September,” said Cohen. He advises all adults who care for a child who has asthma to have a copy of the child’s asthma action plan, including teachers, caregivers, and even parents of their friends. 

Annual physicals also provide an opportunity for your child’s pediatrician to look for signs of depression, lead exposure, or issues with hearing and vision. 

Medical practices have made modifications to keep you and your child safe during your visit due to COVID-19. When you call your child’s pediatrician, you will be given updated protocols and instructions about how to proceed with scheduled appointments. 

“With medical practices again welcoming patients for in-office visits, it is time to reconnect with your child’s pediatrician,” said Cohen.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit ExcellusBCBS.com.