The Alzheimer's Association Nebraska Chapter is supporting or watching several pieces of legislation during the 2019 Unicameral Session. Click here to see the latest updates on these bills.
Increase Public Awareness, Early Detection And Diagnosis
Provide Healthcare Professionals with Tools to Improve Detection and Diagnosis of Alzheimer's
Early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can greatly reduce healthcare costs and allow families earlier access to care resources. State and local health departments play an important role in providing healthcare practitioners with the tools and education necessary for early detection and diagnosis. We urge the Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to physicians on the importance of early detection and diagnosis, as well as the use of resources such as cognitive assessments during Medicare Annual Wellness Visits and the Medicare billing code for care planning.
Increase Public Awareness, Early Detection And Diagnosis
Make Alzheimer's Disease Our Next Public Health Success Story
Public health campaigns, such as those around tobacco cessation, have made a significant impact on the health and wellness of Nebraska's citizens. Alzheimer's disease is an urgent public health issue. Currently, more than 34,000 Nebraskans are living with Alzheimer's disease, and that number is expected to rise to 40,000 by 2025. By conducting awareness campaigns about reducing the risk of dementia, identifying early warning signs, and the importance of early detection and diagnosis, the Department of Health and Human Services can help change the course of Alzheimer's disease in Nebraska. We urge DHHS to include funding for Alzheimer's awareness campaigns in their budget requests to the Governor.
Increase Access to Home and Community-Based Services
Enact Policies to Support Dementia Caregivers
In 2017, 82,000 Nebraskans provided more than $1.18 billion worth of uncompensated care for family members or loved ones living with Alzheimer's disease. Nationwide, 35% of dementia caregivers report their health has worsened due to caregiving responsibilities, and as many as 40% report symptoms of depression. 57% say they have had to go in late, leave early, or take time off of work because of their caregiving responsibilities. LB 306 would add "caring for a family member with a serious health condition" to the list of reasons which are considered good cause for voluntarily leaving employment under employment security law, allowing caregivers to remain eligible for unemployment benefits once they are ready to return to work. LB 311, the Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Act would enable caregivers to take time off of work to care for a loved one with a serious health condition like Alzheimer's, without having to lose their job or go without pay. LB69 would allow qualified caregivers to claim a credit of $300 on their Nebraska taxes. This legislation would ease the financial burden on families living with an Alzheimer's diagnosis, and allow them to take advantage of additional services to improve the care of their loved ones. We urge the Unicameral to pass these pieces of legislation and support dementia caregivers across Nebraska.
Advance Alzheimer's Policy
Conduct an Interim Study on the Creation of an Alzheimer's and Dementia Registry in Nebraska
More and better information is needed about the scope of the Alzheimer's epidemic in Nebraska. Currently, our state has disease registries for cancer, Parkinson's disease, and brain injuries. These registries allow for the collection and sharing of essential information about the prevalence of these diseases in order to improve patient outcomes. We advocate for an interim study to be conducted in the 2019 session on the creation of an Alzheimer's and dementia registry in Nebraska.
Nebraska State Plan Overview
In May 2015, Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB320 calling for the formation of State Plan on Alzheimer's disease and related disorders. The legislation charges the Aging Nebraskans Task Force with assessing existing resources in the state, developing recommendations to meet the growing needs of those affected by Alzheimer's, and to develop strategies to identify gaps in community services. The Task Force included representatives from state agencies, long-term care organizations, elder law, and community organizations as well as economists, seniors, caregivers, and aging advocates. The Nebraska State Plan for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias was published in June 2016. A State Plan Infographic is available here.
Nebraska State Advocacy Day
March 05, 2019
The 2019 Nebraska Alzheimer's Advocacy Day was a great success! 27 attendees from 18 senate districts converged on Lincoln from as far away as Holdrege to meet with their senators and advocate for Alzheimer's policy priorities. In all, advocates met with or visited the offices of 30 of Nebraska's 49 state senators.
During the morning's presentation and training, attendees learned about effective advocacy from Tami Soper, Legislative Aide to Senator Kate Bolz. Tami also shared the story of her personal experience with Alzheimer's disease and encouraged the advocates to continue speaking up about this issue.
After the morning's training, the group traveled to the Capitol, where Senator Anna Wishart read a recognition of the group from the floor of the legislative chamber. Afterward, advocates began conducting meetings with their senators or placing requests to pull them off of the floor for conversations. Many senators expressed their support for our legislative priorities, often sharing their personal connections to Alzheimer's and dementia with the advocates.
Advocates discussed the following bills:
- LB 181 would require a report from the Department of Health and Human Services on the sustainability of the state's long-term care system, inadequate funding of the state's medical assistance program, insufficient provider reimbursement rates, and workforce shortages in long-term care.
- LB 306 would add "care for a family member with a serious health condition" as good cause for voluntarily leaving under the unemployment insurance statute, allowing caregivers to remain eligible for unemployment benefits once they are ready to return to the workforce.
- LB 311 would create a paid family and medical leave insurance program to provide partial wage replacement for eligible workers who need to take time away from work to care for themselves or a family member with a serious illness; care for a new child through birth, foster care or adoption; or for military exigency.
- LB 69 would create a $300 income tax credit for qualifying caregivers, helping to defray some of the out of pocket costs and losses of income they incur.
Following the day's meetings, advocates returned to the morning's gathering location for lunch and to debrief about their meetings. In all, it was a fantastic day of advocacy, as our advocates turned the capitol purple and raised the profile of Alzheimer's and related dementias in the Unicameral.
2020 Advocacy Forum
March 22-24, 2020 alz.org/forum
As an Alzheimer's advocate, you've worked to advance critical public policy, making a difference in the lives of all those impacted by Alzheimer's. Together we've achieved great increases in federal Alzheimer's research funding and secured critical advances in care and support. But we can't take our successes for granted — we need to keep the pressure on.
Join us in Washington for an inspiring three-day event filled with networking, training and education.
Be part of the movement that's making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's.
Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in Nebraska
State Affairs Contact Terry Streetman | (402) 616-2758 | [email protected]
Enter your address here to see your elected officials' positions on Alzheimer's and ways you can contact them to support the Alzheimer's community.
Number of People Aged 65 and Older With Alzheimer's by Age
Percentage change from 2019
Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's (2019)
change in costs from 2019 to 2025
per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia (in 2018 dollars)
of people in hospice have a primary diagnosis of dementia
of people in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
of emergency department visits per 1,000 people with dementia
dementia patient hospital readmission rate
Number of Caregivers
Total Hours of Unpaid Care
Total Value of Unpaid Care
Higher Health Costs of Caregivers
|6th||leading cause of death in Nebraska|
For more information, view the 2019 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report at alz.org/facts.
Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and as many as 14 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated to total $290 billion in 2019, increasing to $1.1 trillion (in today's dollars) by mid-century. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another dementia.