Alzheimer's is the most expensive disease in America, with costs set to skyrocket in the years ahead. To address this issue Congress must devote the resources necessary to achieve breakthroughs in prevention and effective treatment of Alzheimer's. In 2012, an expert panel of scientists concluded that to achieve these tasks by 2025 – the goal established in the National Alzheimer's Plan – a rapid ramp up to billion in annual research funding is necessary. Urge representatives to increase funding today.
It is crucial that those battling Alzheimer's have access to diagnosis and care planning services which can lead to better outcomes for themselves, their families and their caregivers. That is why the Alzheimer's Association supports passage of the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act. The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act (S. 857/H.R. 1559) is legislation that would:
- Provide Medicare coverage for comprehensive care planning services following a dementia diagnosis; the services would be available to both the diagnosed individual and his/her caregiver.
- Ensure that documentation of a dementia diagnosis and any care planning provided is included in an individual’s medical record.
- Require the Department of Health and Human Services to educate providers about the new benefit and to identify any barriers individuals face in accessing care planning.
Who supports the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act? Thousands of advocates nationwide have contacted Congress to urge passage of this bill, and the Alzheimer's Association has worked to ensure that the bill has bipartisan support from members of Congress.
The National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) is the largest legislative victory in many years for the Alzheimer's cause, a law that established an integrated national plan to overcome the disease.
NAPA includes requirements to:
- Coordinate Alzheimer's disease research and services across all federal agencies.
- Accelerate the development of treatments that would prevent, halt, or reverse the course of Alzheimer's disease.
- Improve early diagnosis and coordination of care and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
- Improve outcomes for ethnic and racial minority populations that are at higher risk for Alzheimer's disease.
- Coordinate with international bodies to fight Alzheimer's globally.
- Increase the commitment to Alzheimer's research There continues to be a chronic underinvestment in Alzheimer's disease research. Providing resources to support the national plan is vital to finding needed treatments, developing prevention tools, and – one day – a cure.
- Expand education efforts and caregiver support services. In addition to the need to increase public awareness of Alzheimer's disease, it is critical that unpaid family caregivers and health care providers receive education, outreach and support. NAPA also establishes the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services and requires the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work in collaboration with the Advisory Council to create and maintain the national plan.