Each fall, the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington State Chapter hosts a series of Town Halls across Washington State and northern Idaho. These community events are a unique opportunity for constituents to hear from and ask questions of local leaders about public policy related to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Here are few of topics being covered at our Town Halls this year:
Increases to Research Funding
The largest-ever funding increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was signed into law on Sept. 28, bringing federal funding to $2.3 billion annually. With this historic increase, federal funding is now at the level recommended by scientists to reach the ambitious goal of the National Plan passed in 2012: To prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) Road Map
In an important effort to help state and local health departments address the growing Alzheimer’s crisis, the Alzheimer’s Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will release the third edition of the Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map in October. The 2018-2023 Road Map sets forth 25 actions for state and local public health agencies to promote brain health, better care for people with cognitive impairment, and increase attention to caregivers.
BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act
The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act would create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country, expanding and promoting innovative and effective Alzheimer’s interventions. It would establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence, provide funding to state, local and tribal public health departments to implement the HBI Road Map, and increase data collection and analysis to inform future public health actions.
Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA)
Palliative and hospice care—with a focus on managing and easing symptoms, reducing pain and stress, and increasing comfort—can improve both the quality of care and quality of life for those with advanced dementia. PCHETA would increase the availability and quality of care by establishing palliative care and hospice workforce training programs, creating a national education and awareness campaign about the benefits of palliative care and available services and supports, and enhancing research on improving the delivery of palliative care.
Washington State Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease & Other Dementias
In January 2016, Washington released an Alzheimer’s State Plan to be implemented by a group of public-private partners called the Dementia Action Collaborative (DAC). Since its inception, the DAC has released a variety of tools and resources for those facing the disease and care providers, including the Dementia Road Map, a safety toolkit, and practice guidelines for primary care.
In 2019, we will be asking the State Legislature for funding to support implementation of State Plan priorities, including the development of a Dementia Care Specialist program and specialized services for people with dementia and their caregivers. It would also enhance public awareness and engagement, promote early legal and advance care planning, disseminate dementia care best practices to primary care practitioners, and fund a telemedicine program for providers.
Long-Term Care Trust Act
Seventy percent (70%) of Washington residents over age 65 will need long-term services and support at some point, but over 90% of older adults are currently uninsured. Neither traditional health insurance nor Medicare pay for these services, so many people spend down their life savings and eventually use Medicaid to cover the cost.
The Long-Term Care Trust Act provides the security of affordable coverage by establishing a public long – term care benefit for Washington workers, funded by a modest 0.58% payroll premium. Those vested in the program and eligible for benefits would receive coverage of $100 a day for up to 365 days (consecutively or non-consecutively). Families would choose the care setting or services that meet their loved ones’ needs, including in-home care aides, adult family homes, assisted living, skilled-nursing facilities and more.
Join us for a Town Hall event near you. For a list of dates and locations, please visit our website at: http://alzwa.org/townhalls
Want to stay up-to-date on our public policy efforts? Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), the advocacy arm of the Alzheimer’s Association, follow AIM on Facebook or Twitter, or sign up for action alerts by texting AIM to 52886.