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 some of the topics being covered at our Town Halls this year:
Increases to Research Funding
The Association is asking Congress to appropriate an additional $350 million for Alzheimer’s and dementia research in FY20 at the National Institutes of Health. With a historically large increase won a year ago, Alzheimer’s research now stands at $2.3 billion, but the NIH scientists say more is needed to reach the ambitious goal of the National Alzheimer’s Plan passed in 2012: to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s disease by 2025.
The Association is seeking a $20 million appropriation for the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, through which the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention will create an Alzheimer’s public health infrastructure across the country. This effort will expand and promote innovative and effective Alzheimer’s interventions like early detection and diagnosis, risk reduction and prevention of avoidable hospitalizations. The law will establish Alzheimer’s Centers of Excellence; provide funding to state; local and tribal public health departments; and increase data collection and analysis to inform future public health actions.
Care Planning in Medicare
The “Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act,” S. 880/H.R. 1873, would educate clinicians on Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services available through Medicare. This will give clinicians the knowledge and tools to better help their patients and families living with dementia.
Support Services for Younger-Onset Dementia
The “Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Act,” S. 901/H.R. 1903, would allow people younger than 60 who have been diagnosed with dementia to receive services under the Older Americans Act, such as caregiver training, transportation and Meals on Wheels.
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, the state Legislature approved our request for funding to support implementation of several State Plan priorities, including $1 million to 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 training program for providers. In 2020 we will seek funding for placing specialists around the state to provide services for people with dementia and their caregivers.
2019 Town Halls
Are you interested in learning more about federal and state policies impacting people affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia? Join us at one of our 11 annual public policy Town Halls happening this fall across Washington and northern Idaho.
The Town Halls include a brief presentation and a panel discussion featuring local experts and people impacted by the disease, who will share their experiences and offer perspectives on the issues being presented. There will also be time for Q&A at the end of the presentation. Town Halls are free to attend! Learn more here.