WASHINGTON, D.C., December 28, 2020 – A $300 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was signed into law, bringing the annual federal investment to $3.1 billion. In addition, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 880/H.R. 1873), bipartisan legislation championed by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM) and $15 million to implement the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406). The Alzheimer’s Association, AIM and our nationwide network of dedicated advocates have worked tirelessly to grow bipartisan support for these advancements.
Next month marks the 10-year anniversary of enactment of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA), legislation championed by the Alzheimer's Association and AIM. Prior to 2011, there was no cohesive strategy to address Alzheimer’s research, care or support, and the federal government was investing just $448 million annually in research. The passage of NAPA ushered in a new era, changing the way our nation addresses Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.
“On behalf of the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, we are thankful to Congress for their bipartisan work to advance policies that are bringing about meaningful progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s and all other dementia,” said Robert Egge, AIM executive director and Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer. “The reliable and sustained investment by the federal government is spurring innovation leading to breakthroughs in treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure. And today, individuals and families have greater access than ever before to critical care and support services.”
Sustained Federal Investment in Research
Understanding the devastating toll Alzheimer’s takes on American families and the economy, increasing government investment in research has become a bipartisan priority in Congress. The sustained investment has been made possible by longtime congressional champions including Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
In addition, the omnibus bill includes $15 million to implement the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406), an important step toward acknowledging and addressing Alzheimer’s as a widespread public health crisis. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act works to strengthen the public health infrastructure across the country, implementing effective Alzheimer's interventions focused on increasing early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.
Increasing Access to Care Planning Services Through Medicare
The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 880/H.R. 1873), championed by the Association and AIM, will improve health outcomes for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
“For the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, early detection, documented diagnosis and access to care-planning services are increasingly critical,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “For too long, individuals and their caregivers have struggled to access these services. We are thankful to bipartisan congressional champions for addressing this need through the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.”
The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct education and outreach about care planning services available for individuals living with Alzheimer's or another dementia to care providers. The new law will also require a report to Congress on provider outreach and utilization rates, including information on any barriers Medicare beneficiaries face in accessing these services and recommendations to address those barriers.
Care planning allows diagnosed individuals and their caregivers to learn about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials and support services available in the community — resulting in a higher quality of life for those with the disease. Studies have shown that individuals receiving dementia-specific care planning have fewer hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits, and better medication and disease management.
Since January 2017, Medicare has covered care planning for individuals with cognitive impairment, providing clinicians the time and resources to provide a comprehensive set of care planning services to people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. However, those individuals and medical providers are often not aware of this resource.
The bipartisan Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act was introduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Representatives Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.),and Chris Smith (R-N.J.). Since its introduction, AIM advocates grew support for the bill, resulting in nearly half of the Senate and over 200 members in the House having cosponsored the legislation.
Alzheimer’s is one of the most expensive diseases in the country, costing an estimated $305 billion — including $206 billion in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid — in 2020. Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease and an estimated 16 million Americans are providing unpaid care.
Learn more about the policy advancements that have been made since the enactment of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act at alz.org/napa.
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit alz.org.
Alzheimer's Impact Movement
The Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM) is a separately incorporated advocacy affiliate of the Alzheimer's Association. AIM works to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care and improved support. For more information, visit alzimpact.org.
Laura Cilmi, 202.638.8673, [email protected]