U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) on April 14 introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill that aims to reduce medical complications for Alzheimer’s patients by creating a new way to fund dementia care through Medicare.
The new managing care model would help decrease hospitalizations and emergency department visits and delay nursing home placement to help improve the quality of life for patients while making treatment more affordable, according to the senator’s office.
“Having been a caregiver for my parents living with Alzheimer’s disease I know how needed this model is,” Sen. Capito said after introducing the Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act, S. 1125, with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
Rep. LaHood, who is co-chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Alzheimer’s Working Group, cosponsored his chamber’s version, H.R. 2517, with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY).
“Alzheimer’s impacts millions of families in America and in Illinois’ 18th District. It is important that we continue to work to provide high quality care to individuals impacted by this disease,” said Rep. LaHood. “Our bipartisan bill will support continued innovation for Alzheimer’s treatment by the healthcare community and work to support patients, families and caregivers through expanded policies in support of greater coordination of care.”
If enacted, the measure would recommend that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation test the effect of this dementia care management model, according to the congressional record bill summary.
Such a model would provide comprehensive care management services, including monitoring of additional health conditions, medication management and care coordination for Alzheimer’s patients, and establish high standards of care by evaluating the quality of care provided to patients, including clinical outcomes, patient and caregiver experience, and utilization of care, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers’ offices.
“As the number of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia continues to increase, it is vital we look for ways to better care for them,” said Sen. Capito. “By enhancing the coordination of this care, we can lessen the burden for patients and their caregivers while reducing health care costs by preventing unnecessary physician visits or duplicate tests.”
Additionally, the bill would eliminate cost-sharing for patients and pay providers a monthly amount based on the complexity and quality of the patient’s care, the summary says, and it would allow both large and small providers to participate, including hospitals, community health centers and rural health clinics.
The proposed bill also would ensure that caregivers are supported and able to participate in the coordination and management of care and require outreach to underrepresented populations that would include culturally appropriate care, according to the bill summary.
The measure is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.