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Higgins leads House legislation to help people struggling with Alzheimer's and their families

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Wed, Jun 30th 2021 03:25 pm

Bill aims to improve care for patients

As Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month comes to a close, Congressman Brian Higgins announced bipartisan legislation to help families across the country dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act would help the 95% of individuals with dementia that have one or more other chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. 

A press release stated, “The bipartisan bill reduces medical complications for these patients by creating a new way to fund dementia care through Medicare. This new model of managing care can help reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits and delay nursing home placement, which improves the quality of life for patients and makes treatment more affordable.

“One in 10 seniors in the United States struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to double to 14 million Americans in the next 30 years. 

Higgins said, “Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease both for the afflicted and those who love them. This legislation recognizes the unique challenges and needs of families struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and takes a novel approach to improve treatment coordination, care quality and patient outcomes.”

Jill Horner, chapter executive for the Alzheimer’s Association Western New York Chapter, said, "On behalf of New Yorkers living with dementia and their caregivers, we are grateful to Rep. Higgins for his leadership. The bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer's Act takes an innovative and thoughtful approach to addressing the unique challenges of dementia care. The bill's proposed model has the potential to greatly improve dementia care delivery for millions of Americans, while reducing costs."

Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director, said, “The introduction of the bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act is the next step on the path to high-quality dementia care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. For millions of Americans, this legislation’s proposed model has the potential to greatly improve dementia care delivery, while reducing costs. On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), I am grateful to Sens. Shelley Moore Capito and Debbie Stabenow as well as to U.S. Reps. Brian Higgins, Darin LaHood, Paul Tonko and Brett Guthrie for introducing this bipartisan legislation and for caring about everyone impacted by dementia. We look forward to working with the cosponsors to grow support for this critical legislation.”

The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act aims to improve the lives of those living with Alzheimer’s disease. The bill would: 

1. Provide comprehensive care management services, including monitoring of additional health conditions, medication management and care coordination.

2. Establish high standards of care by evaluating the quality of care provided to patients, including clinical outcomes, patient and caregiver experience, and utilization of care.

3. Eliminate cost-sharing for patients and pay providers a monthly amount based on the complexity and quality of the patient’s care. It would allow both large and small providers to participate, including hospitals, community health centers and rural health clinics. 

4. Ensure caregivers are supported and able to participate in the coordination and management of care. 

 5. Require outreach to underrepresented populations, as well as culturally appropriate care.

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