Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Makes Recommendations to US Senate to Eliminate Barriers to Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Alzheimer’s Disease
NEW YORK (November 21, 2019) – The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) recommended ways to eliminate barriers to diagnosis, care and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related illnesses to the US Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health. The Senate subcommittee solicited testimony as part of a hearing held during National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month to raise awareness and highlight obstacles in diagnosis, treatment and care that impact the quality of life for the millions of American families living with Alzheimer’s.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health epidemic. Continued investment in research and caregiving services is critically important to overcoming this growing health and fiscal crisis and finding a cure by 2025 as called for in the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s president & CEO. “We thank the subcommittee for holding this hearing and will continue working with federal policymakers to find solutions that improve quality of life for the more than 5.8 million American families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.”
In written testimony to the subcommittee, AFA made the following recommendations:
Removing Barriers to Diagnosis
- Fund the BOLD Act initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which will go to increasing education of public health officials, health care professionals and the public on Alzheimer’s, brain health and cognitive health disparities.
- Increase physician and public awareness of Medicare’s annual wellness visit and its cognitive screen component as well as its reimbursement.
- Incentivize private insurers to reimburse health professionals for conducting cognitive screens of older Americans or those who have a genetic link – or other predisposition – for dementia.
Eliminating Barriers to Treatment
- Continue robust investment into research of dementia at the National Institute of Aging (NIA) and other federal health agencies.
- Invest in Alzheimer’s disease infrastructure which includes promotion and expansion of a geriatric workforce, increased awareness of brain health and access to imaging other tools to aid in diagnosis and treatment.
Breaking Down Barriers to Care
- Reauthorize and increase funding for the Older Americans’ Act which provides grants for specialized dementia training for direct and family care partners.
- Implement and expand of person-centered, coordinated care models which provide better outcomes and lower costs for individuals with chronic conditions, including many of those living with dementia. Some of these models include: Independence at Home (IAH), Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and REACH VA program.
A copy of the testimony is available here.
Families affected by Alzheimer’s disease can receive information and support through AFA’s Helpline at 866-232-8484 or connecting online at www.alzfdn.org. The Helpline is open seven days a week.