Senator Jack Reed Agrees to Co-Sponsor Legislation to Help Alzheimer’s Patients Gain More Access to Medicare
(Providence, RI), May, 2019 – Senator Jack Reed has joined his colleagues in the U.S. Senate as a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which would require clinicians to educate Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers about the Medicare benefits available to those eligible in order to provide more access to those in need.
“There are benefits available through a Medicare billing code, which allows clinicians to be reimbursed for providing a comprehensive set of care planning services to those that are cognitively impaired and those caregivers that are with them,” said Donna M. McGowan, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rhode Island Chapter. “Fewer than 1% of seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease received the care planning benefit last year, and this very low number shows that both providers and patients are not aware of its existence.”
The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act builds on the care planning benefit by addressing the low usage of the benefit. Specifically, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would require HHS to:
-Educate clinicians on care planning services available under Medicare and on the care planning billing code.
-Report on the barriers to individuals receiving care planning services and how the rate of usage can be increased.
“Facing Alzheimer’s is difficult enough so quickly getting patients and their care givers information about resources and where they can get help is vital,” said Senator Reed. “This legislation will help ensure that patients and caregivers are made aware of the Medicare benefits available to them and will take important steps to help them access the care they need.”
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. Individuals receiving dementia-specific care planning have fewer hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits, and better medication management. Alzheimer’s and related dementias complicate the management of other chronic conditions. Care planning is key to care coordination and managing.
Senator Reed joins fellow Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse as a co-sponsor in a bipartisan effort.
More information about the legislation can be obtained at https://alzimpact.org/priorities/improving_hope_for_alzheimers_act
About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer 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. Visit www.alz.org or call 800.272.3900.