2021 CMSC Annual Meeting

Promising Opportunities to Integrate Health and Wellness Coaching into Comprehensive Care Teams for Patients with Multiple Sclerosis


Background: The impact of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors and comorbidities is a rapidly rising focus in treating patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Comorbidities and lifestyle factors have a negative impact on MS diagnosis, disease activity, symptom management, disability, mortality, hospitalization rates and quality of life. It is essential to aggressively address comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and stroke while promoting healthy lifestyle practices in individuals with MS. Gaining momentum to address these challenges is Health and Wellness Coaching (HWC). HWC models focus on advancing health, wellness and behavior change by using Motivational Interviewing (MI) and other competencies to guide patients through self-directed, lasting changes that are aligned with their values, strengths, beliefs in their capacity for change and honoring that every individual is the expert on their own life. MS Centers choosing to implement HWC have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes and for financial reimbursement. The American Medical Association (AMA) approved new Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT R) codes for Health and Well-Being Coaching effective January 1, 2020. Objectives: To examine the potential impact of HWC on patient outcomes and identify opportunities, benefits, and financial considerations of incorporating HWC into multidisciplinary patient care. Methods: Using multiple databases, a comprehensive literature search of peer reviewed medical and integrative literature published since 2005 was conducted. 40 articles were included with multiple comprehensive systematic summaries and review style articles meeting scientific standards. To better understand HWC, the author completed the Mayo Clinic Wellness Coach program and achieved the status of National Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). Results: The review of current scientific literature supports HWC as an effective intervention leading to significantly improved outcomes in patients with a variety of chronic illnesses with and without comorbidities. Current studies are ongoing to evaluate long term effectiveness of HWC. Conclusions: The results support HWC as a rapidly growing and beneficial intervention in healthcare. The potential for significant positive outcomes for individuals with MS, combined with the AMA Approval of Category III CPT R codes for HWC, highlight the benefits of MS Centers integrating HWC into multidisciplinary teams.