The Minnesota Legislature has adjourned for 2021. They did not complete the biennial budget though, and we expect the legislature to return mid June to complete that work. Legislative leaders and the Governor reached agreement on bipartisan budget framework for each major issue area, and committees will continue to work on the details within each of those issue areas over the course of the next several weeks. The Minnesota Constitution requires a balanced budget, so this work is critical and timely. They must agree on final budgets by June 30, 2021.
The Alzheimer's Association had two policy priorities this legislative session: First Responders Dementia Training and Dementia Public Awareness. Parts of our first responders bill are included in the Public Safety omnibus budget bills, and therefore may still advance in the expected upcoming special session. While our public awareness provisions were not picked up in the Health and Human Services omnibus budget bills, we will continue to work on this issue in the 2022 legislative session.
Provide Dementia Training for Minnesota’s First Responders
Police officers, paramedics and firefighters have frequent interactions with individuals who have Alzheimer’s and other dementias in a variety of settings and often in crisis situations. Many of these professionals have little or no formal training to prepare them for the unique physical, behavioral, and communication issues related to dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association will build on progress from last session and continue to urge legislators to empower first responders with dementia-specific training on the recognition of individuals with cognitive impairment and the ability to secure the safety of abused and exploited individuals with dementia.
Create Alzheimer’s Public Awareness Campaign
Early detection of dementia and Alzheimer’s means individuals receive better medical care and health outcomes and can plan for future needs, secure medical desires and make their wishes known. Research suggests that a large number of people living with Alzheimer’s are not properly diagnosed and many are unaware of their diagnosis. Additionally, there is evidence that African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos with dementia are less likely to have a diagnosis than whites, even though they are 1.5- 2 times more likely to have the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association supports forthcoming legislation that directs the Minnesota Department of Health to develop a focused public awareness campaign with culturally-specific messages about the importance of early detection and diagnosis, awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, and discussing cognition with a health provider.
Minnesota State Plan Overview
In 2017 the Minnesota Legislature (2017 Session Law) called on the Minnesota Board on Aging to reconvene the Alzheimer's Disease Working Group (ADWG) to review and revise the 2011 report, Preparing Minnesota for Alzheimer's: the Budgetary, Social and Personal Impacts. The ADWG was appointed in late 2017 and met throughout 2018. Like the first work group created in 2009 when the Minnesota Legislature first charged the Minnesota Board on Aging to create a plan, this working group made recommendations for policies and programs that would prepare Minnesota for the future. The 2018 work group was led by a Minnesotan who is living with mild cognitive impairment and included health care providers, family caregivers, researchers, representatives from state and local health and human services agencies. The ADWG gathered expert research and background information and solicited input from the general public. The Alzheimer's Disease Working Group Legislative Report was published in January 2019 and presented to the Minnesota Legislature.
Minnesota State Advocacy Day
March 02, 2021
Join fellow Alzheimer’s advocates for this innovative advocacy series, providing the information, training and tools you need to urge Minnesota’s state legislators to support policies that will help those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other dementia. Over the course of several days, we will release a series of videos and hold live events to prepare you with information and training to help us advance our policy agenda. We will also provide you with tools and opportunities to connect with state government leaders on priority policy issues. While we can’t be in-person at the Capitol together, we can still make our voices heard as critical decisions are made by lawmakers.