The Spring 2017 edition of the ALZ Media Insider includes developments from the Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C., which broke previous attendance records. 

Headlines in this issue:

New Funds Will Fuel Alzheimer’s Breakthroughs, But More Still Needed

The Alzheimer’s Association and its sister organization the Alzheimer's Impact Movement (AIM), achieved a major legislative victory this week as Congress will approve a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The historic increase is the largest ever to go toward research for Alzheimer’s, and was achieved despite the Administration’s proposed budget cuts.

The increase brings the total Alzheimer’s research budget at NIH to $1.391 billion — moving closer to the annual funding an expert panel of scientists say is needed to prevent or effectively treat Alzheimer’s by 2025 — the goal established in the National Alzheimer’s Plan.

As Congress now turns to the 2018 budget, the Alzheimer’s Association is calling on Congress to fully fund the NIH Alzheimer’s Bypass Budget proposal which would increase funding for Alzheimer’s research by an additional $414 million in FY18.

Experts say that if treatments became available in 2025 that delayed onset of Alzheimer’s for five years (a treatment similar to anti-cholesterol drugs), savings would be seen almost immediately, with Medicare and Medicaid spending reduced by $47 billion in 2030. In 2016, the NIH spent only $100 on Alzheimer’s research for every $16,000 Medicare and Medicaid spent caring for people with the disease.

More information and resources:

  • Expert Interview: Robert Egge, chief public policy officer, Alzheimer’s Association 

New Resource Guides Clinicians on Care Planning

In response to a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) ruling issued last fall covering care planning for cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the Alzheimer’s Association developed a new comprehensive toolkit to help primary care providers deliver these services.

The Cognitive Impairment Care Planning Toolkit, available at serves as a resource for clinicians to understand what the G0505 Medicare code covers, and to provide a wide variety of resources for clinicians to use in care planning sessions.

“Proper care planning results in fewer hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits, and better management of medication — all of which improves the quality of life for both patients and caregivers, and helps manage overall care costs,” said Beth Kallmyer, Alzheimer’s Association Vice President of Constituent Services.”

The Alzheimer’s Association and AIM played a critical role in the decision by CMS to pay for care planning for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. The decision, came following rapidly growing bipartisan support in Congress for the Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 857, H.R. 1559), legislation conceived by the Alzheimer’s Association.

More information and resources:

  • Expert Interview: Beth Kallmyer, VP, Constituent Services, Alzheimer’s Association

Bolstering Palliative Care and Hospice Workforce to Support People with Alzheimer’s

Palliative and hospice care are critical services for people living with Alzheimer’s, but the availability of these services is often lacking. Today, less than half of surveyed nursing homes report having a palliative care program. In those that do offer programs, only 42 percent include consultation by a physician certified in hospice/palliative care, and only 28 percent have a designated director of palliative care on their staff.

To bridge this gap, the Alzheimer’s Association is supporting federal legislation aimed at educating providers on palliative and hospice care — with a focus on managing and easing symptoms, reducing pain, decreasing stress and increasing comfort — which can improve both the quality of care and quality of life for those with advanced dementia.

Studies show individuals with advanced dementia who are enrolled in hospice have a lower rate of dying in the hospital, a lower rate of hospitalization in the last 30 days of life and better symptom management. Nursing home residents with dementia who receive end-of-life palliative care, compared with those who do not, are:

  • Up to 15 times less likely to die in the hospital
  • Nearly 2.5 times less likely to be hospitalized in the last 30 days of life
  • Up to 4.6 times less likely to have an emergency room visit in the last week of life

The bipartisan Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (PCHETA), which was reintroduced in Congress in March, would:

  • Establish palliative care and hospice workforce training programs for doctors, nurses and other health professionals
  • Create a national education and awareness campaign to inform patients, families and health professionals about the benefits of palliative care and available services and supports
  • Enhance research on improving the delivery of palliative care

More information and resources:

  • Expert Interview: Expert Interview: Robert Egge, chief public policy officer, Alzheimer’s Association

Beltway Ads Highlight High Cost of Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association recently launched a Beltway-focused ad campaign aimed at educating policymakers on the growing budget impact of Alzheimer’s.

For the first time ever, it now costs more than a quarter of a trillion dollars ($259 billion) annually to care for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States. Of that total, 51 percent comes from Medicare ($131 billion), 17 percent comes from Medicaid ($44 billion) and 22 percent comes from individuals’ pockets ($56 billion). According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, out-of-pocket costs for people affected by Alzheimer’s are startlingly high, despite support from Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, annual per-person payments for seniors with Alzheimer’s and other dementias are almost five times higher ($10,315) than those for seniors without these conditions ($2,232).

As the population of Americans affected by the disease continues to rise, so too does the cost of care. Today, there are an estimated 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. By 2050, that number could rise as high as 16 million, and costs could reach $1.1 trillion.

More information and resources:

Media Contact
Mike Lynch
Media phone line: 312-335-4078