Medicare could cover comprehensive Alzheimer’s care plan

Congress has proposed providing additional support for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the fiscal year 2017 Labor, Health and Human Servicies and Education and Related Agencies spending bill 29-1 for Senate consideration. The bill included the Health, Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (S. 857). An identical bill (H.R. 1559) has been referred to the Subcommittee on Health in the House of Representatives.

“The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will give people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers access to critical information and support that will help in their journey with this devastating disease,” says Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association President and CEO in a press release.

The bill would amend the Social Security Act to cover an initial comprehensive care plan for Medicare beneficiaries newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. That would include assistance for understanding the diagnosis; medical and non-medical options for ongoing treatment, services and supports; and information about how to obtain said treatments, which would take into account the beneficiary’s other co-morbid chronic conditions.

The Senate subcommittee also approved a $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research funding at the National Institutes of Health. In 2015, the president signed legislation from the House of Representatives for an additional $350 million for federal Alzheimer’s disease research, the largest ever increase. Alzheimer’s and related dementias research currently receives $991 million in NIH funding.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the Senate Appropriation's committee vote. 

Related: Senate proposes $400M increase for dementia research

Unprecedented $350 million federal funding increase for Alzheimer’s research

Topics: Alzheimer's/Dementia , Medicare/Medicaid