Depressed? Are you a senior on Medicare? Are you depressed because you are a senior, or depressed because you are on Medicare or simply depressed because you are a senior on Medicare?
Paying doctors to screen for depression — Medicare’s going rate is $17.36 per person — may well increase how often they do it, say experts.
Most primary-care practices that screen for depression use a tool called the patient health questionnaire. The PHQ-9, as it’s called, asks people to describe how frequently during the past two weeks they have felt down or hopeless or taken little interest or pleasure in doing things. It also asks about sleep patterns, appetite and concentration, among other things. Although the test can be taken in just a few minutes, a 2001 study indicated it identifies depression and pinpoints its severitynearly 90 percent of the time.