Medicare accommodates a reasonable amount of diagnostic work, according to Glen Heggie, researcher at the University of Missouri-Columbia. However, most people do not take advantage of preventive services for a variety of reasons, he said.
"In rural areas, people often don't come in for medical evaluation until they can no longer perform tasks. There is no shame in saying that something isn't right," said Heggie, chairman of the Cardiopulmonary and Diagnostic Services Department in MU's School of Health Professions. "Preventive medicine will ultimately make people more productive, happier and healthier in their remaining years."
MU's mobile health van travels to rural areas to help combat this problem and bring awareness. The van hits the road to offer free screenings for osteoporosis, obstructive lung disease and stroke. These are all called "silent conditions" because they are often not discovered until something goes wrong.
"It's hard for people to say they won't spend $3 in gas for a screening when the van is just 10 miles away," Heggie said.