In the News
"This bipartisan effort is continuing to gain support in both the House and the Senate. There is much more work to be done. Senator John Boozman, a longtime supporter of Alzheimer’s issues, has joined as a co-sponsor in the Senate. Senator Boozman has consistently supported advances in Alzheimer’s research funding and issues related to the dementia population. He currently serves on the congressional task force for Alzheimer’s disease."
Click here for the following story published in the Van Buren County Democrat on June 23.
Congress working to improve dementia care
Providing care for an individual living with dementia involves many unique and challenging issues. Individuals and caregivers often have to navigate multiple health needs ranging from working with primary care doctors and specialists to medication management.
My father is in the early stages of dementia and like others with cognitive decline, he is being treated for multiple health issues. More than 95 percent with dementia have one or more other chronic conditions, the management of which is complicated by an individual’s cognitive impairment. Individuals with cognitive decline also have non-medical needs, ranging from support with daily personal care and daily activities.
Mom spent her career as a nurse and because of her knowledge is able to manage dad’s multiple medications and make sure he is being treated for each of his health issues. Many families are not so lucky and are left to navigate the healthcare maze on their own.
Legislation has been introduced into Congress that, if passed, would create a path to better dementia care and address. The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act (S.1125/ H.R.2517) model would provide person-centered services, including the development of a dementia care plan, care coordination and navigation, and caregiver education and support. This bill will put us on the right path to high quality dementia care.
Because comprehensive dementia care has been shown to reduce costs while providing better quality care, this legislation would also call on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test a payment structure for dementia care management. Dementia care management allows families to more seamlessly navigate the health care and social support systems, and obtain more timely access to care. Dementia care management may include care coordination and navigation, management of chronic conditions, and caregiver education and support. In addition, the model would ensure patients have access to a team of providers with expertise in dementia care management, and reimburse providers through an incentive payment based on performance.
Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director said, “We’ve seen previously-funded demonstration projects by CMMI successfully reduce health care utilization and costs but providers and payers need support to enable this better method of care.”
This bipartisan effort is continuing to gain support in both the House and the Senate. There is much more work to be done. Senator John Boozman, a longtime supporter of Alzheimer’s issues, has joined as a co-sponsor in the Senate. Senator Boozman has consistently supported advances in Alzheimer’s research funding and issues related to the dementia population. He currently serves on the congressional task force for Alzheimer’s disease.
It is my hope that Rep. Hill and the rest of the Arkansas delegation will also join this bipartisan effort so that we can improve the delivery and management of dementia care for all those affected. If possible, could you please take a moment and call Rep. Hill’s office and ask him to Co-Sponsor this important legislation. His office can be reached at 202-225-2506. Here is what a call like that could sound like.
“Hello my name is David, I am calling to ask Rep. Hill to consider co-sponsoring H.R. 2517, The Comprehensive Care Act.”
Feel free to share with the staff how your life has been impacted by dementia.
It is estimated that nearly 13 million Americans will have Alzheimer’s by 2050, so it is critical we find better ways to care for them. By enhancing the coordination of dementia care, we can lessen the burden for individuals and their caregivers while reducing health care costs.
In 2020, Arkansas caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias provided an estimated 140 Million hours of care valued at nearly $2.98 billion. With these numbers only expected to increase it is crucial that Congress takes steps to address the needs of this population.