Personalized, connected, and proactive care that starts with the very first visit

Perspectives: Healthcare today

With Carelon Health, our patients see a dedicated care team and get a personalized care plan. And it all begins with a Healthy Start™ appointment.

What if your first visit with a new doctor included all the usual things: blood pressure, weight, symptoms, medical history. But then they talked longer with you, asking questions like: Do you have access to healthy food? Do you have rides to the clinic? Are you feeling safe and happy?

That’s what it’s like at an extended Healthy Start appointment.

Healthy Start is a unique benefit from Carelon Health. Healthy Start is the first step in Carelon Health’s Advanced Primary Care, where patients see a team of care providers dedicated to all aspects of their health.

Your care team includes a primary care provider (PCP), plus additional providers as needed, such as a specialist, nutritionist, social worker, pharmacist, podiatrist, or behavioral health therapist — often at the same clinic.

Carelon Health’s Advanced Primary Care is available to Medicare patients through select Medicare Advantage plans.

An ounce of prevention

“The strength of medical care is in prevention. You have to start early,” said Khyati Gupta, DO, a Carelon Health doctor in Las Vegas. “We want to take ownership of our patients’ health. We want to keep them healthy and prevent their health from declining to a point where it’s almost too late.”

Research shows that a holistic approach to preventive care can keep people healthier and help avoid disease complications that could land them in the hospital.*

Why is Healthy Start unique?

Most Healthy Start and Healthy Journey appointments last about 40 to 60 minutes. Dr. Gupta explained that, “During a Healthy Start appointment, patients often are surprised by how thorough and unhurried it is. Most doctor’s appointments last about 15 minutes, with Healthy Start, we want to make sure that you have a thorough check-up as well as time to ask questions and get thoughtful answers. We won’t rush you.”

She added, “Check-ups between those appointments often are more relaxed, too. Your doctor already knows you and your health concerns, so you can spend more time catching up on your health and discussing lifestyle changes.”

Dr. Gupta also said, “We’re able to sit down with our patients and address their concerns and their chronic diseases. We even have a mobile team, so if I have a patient who's sick and I need them to be checked on at home, I can send that team to go see the patient there. It’s 360-degree care that we can wrap around our patients from all angles.”

How does Healthy Start work?

Healthy Start and Healthy Journey evaluations are designed to cover everything your Carelon Health team needs to know to keep you as healthy and active as possible.

During the first part of the visit, a medical assistant talks to you about your medical history and your living environment. For the remainder of the visit, your provider discusses how you feel, whether you’re reaching your goals, and steps you can take to stay healthy or improve your well-being.

As part of your Healthy Start assessment, you receive:

  • A check-up to measure things like weight and blood pressure.
  • A personalized care plan created for you and your special health needs.
  • Suggested wellness programs like fitness classes or a nutrition counselor. 
  • Questions about your emotions from day to day, and guidance to help you feel happy and secure.
  • Referrals to specialists like a heart doctor or podiatrist. 
  • An evaluation to see how you move around on your own and if you are at risk of falling or other issues that could cause injury.
  • Lab tests that can be completed right on-site.

“The idea behind these appointments is that your health is a journey — it evolves and changes from one time to another. We are on the journey together and we’ll navigate it together,” Dr. Gupta said. “It’s not just a single patient-physician encounter.” After your Healthy Start appointment, you’ll have regular check-ups with your Carelon Health care providers. These might happen in-person, through virtual care, or at home. You even have a 24-hour Care Line through Carelon Health, where you can ask about your symptoms and get helpful advice, including whether to see a care provider or go to a Carelon Health Care Center. Every year you’ll also be encouraged to schedule a Healthy Journey visit to track your health and make any necessary adjustments to your care plan..

Forging strong relationships

In surveys, 94% of patients said Healthy Start was a good experience. Dr. Gupta said her patients have reported that they appreciate the convenience of Carelon Health’s Advanced Primary Care and the relationship they develop with their care providers.

“It just makes sense for patients to have everything under one roof as much as possible,” Dr. Gupta said. “It’s sad to hear, but a lot of my patients say, ‘This is the first time a doctor has listened to me’ or ‘This is the first time I've really been able to talk to my doctor.’ Patients are very thankful.”

Dr. Gupta said having the time to get to know her patients makes her more effective and her job more rewarding — and it begins with Healthy Start. “I personally feel like the energy and the time I devote to my patient the first time around carries me through every follow-up.”

Carelon Health Advanced Primary Care is available through Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage health plans in nine states. Experience personalized, connected, and proactive care by choosing a plan that includes Carelon Health .


* Musich S, Wang S, Hawkins K, Klemes A: The Impact of Personalized Preventive Care on Health Care Quality, Utilization, and Expenditures, Popular Health Management (December 2016):