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Congressman Higgins Leads House Legislation to Help People Struggling with Alzheimer’s and Their Families

Jun 30, 2021
Press Release
Bill to Improve Care for Alzheimer’s Patients

As Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month comes to a close, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) 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. 

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 ten 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. 

Congressman Brian 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."

“The needs of someone with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members who are caring for them are unique and especially challenging. This bill takes a comprehensive approach in addressing these special health care needs. It creates a model for innovative planning, high standards of care and support for caregivers while reducing costs through better coordination,” said Senator Stabenow.

“As the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia continues to increase, it is vital we look for ways to better care for them,” Senator Capito said. “By enhancing the coordination of this care, we can lessen the burden for patients and their caregivers while reducing health care costs by preventing unnecessary physician visits or duplicate tests. Having been a caregiver for my parents living with Alzheimer’s disease I know how needed this model is.”

“Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease that affects not only those diagnosed, but also their families and loved ones. With an estimated more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, many Americans know the impact of Alzheimer’s as well other dementias firsthand. Alzheimer’s is a leading cause of death in the U.S. Additionally, health care costs can be financially devastating for patients. Health care costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease are projected to be $335 billion for this year and are expected to increase. I’m proud to introduce the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act with Senator Stabenow, Senator Capito, Representative Tonko, Representative Higgins, and Representative LaHood to help improve overall care for patients with dementias and their caregivers,” said Congressman Guthrie.

“Alzheimer's impacts millions of families in America and in Illinois’ 18th District. It is important that we continue to work to provide high quality care to individuals impacted by this disease,” said Congressman LaHood. “Our bipartisan bill will support continued innovation for Alzheimer’s treatment by the healthcare community and work to support patients, families, and caregivers through expanded policies in support of greater coordination of care.”

“Congress can make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans who are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the millions more who love and care for them, by making treatment more affordable, accessible and comprehensive. I am proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce this powerful, compassionate and bipartisan legislation that will improve the lives of countless patients and families. Congress must pass this legislation and more to provide a path of hope to every American struggling with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” said Congressman Paul Tonko.

“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,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director.

The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act improves 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 that 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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