LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Alzheimer’s disease: We can’t stop now

This past December, following actions by Congress, President Obama enacted into law the largest Alzheimer’s policy victory in at least a generation. An increase of more than $350 million in the federal research funding in the FY16 budget will go to researchers working to combat Alzheimer’s disease.

While we celebrate this historic win and recognize the tremendous efforts of Alzheimer’s advocates and legislative leaders, there is more work to be done. Important research needs ongoing funding and families need access to critical care and support. In order to provide better medical care and outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the possible dementia must first be detected, the disease must then be diagnosed, care must be planned, and the diagnosis must be noted in the patient’s medical record.

The Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act would provide Medicare reimbursement for services to increase the diagnosis of dementia, as well as provide access to information and support for newly diagnosed patients and their families. It would also ensure that an Alzheimer’s or related disorder diagnosis is included in the individual’s medical record.

There is support from Delaware legislators for this effort. On behalf of Delaware Alzheimer’s advocates, I wish to thank Senator Thomas Carper and Senator Chris Coons for committing to the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. We respectfully urge Representative John Carney to become the next leader to pledge support.

The Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum is the nation’s premier Alzheimer’s advocacy event held in Washington, D.C., from April 4-6. Here, thousands of concerned citizens from across the country will engage with their legislators to ensure continued Alzheimer’s research funding, as well as support for the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act.

We need you to bring your voice! The Alzheimer’s Association is providing transportation via bus to Capitol Hill on April 6 for Day on the Hill. I encourage Delaware residents to make this bus trip. For more information, call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit act.alz.org/dayonthehill.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. More information about Alzheimer’s disease or the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs and services is available at 800-272-3900.

F. Gregory Tigani
Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Sen. Carper

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