WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Wa.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today introduced the bipartisan Improving HOPE (Health, Outcomes, Planning, and Education) for Alzheimer’s Act. Thanks to a successful bipartisan push by lawmakers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in November 2016 that Medicare would begin covering new care plans in 2017, effectively implementing the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. The Improving HOPE Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services to conduct outreach to make more health care providers aware of this important benefit and to report back on rates of utilization and barriers to access. 

“In 2016, I was thrilled to join Senators Stabenow, Collins, and Markey to announce that for the first time Medicare would pay for new individual care plans to support Alzheimer’s patients and their families,” said Senator Capito. “While these comprehensive care plans are helping many men and women, they have the potential to help so many more. That’s why we are once again joining together to introduce the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which will help ensure physicians are aware they are able to assist their patients in this way and look at any barriers that might be preventing Medicare beneficiaries from accessing these services.” 

“With more than 5 million currently living with Alzheimer’s, and 9 million more projected to be living with the disease by 2050, the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), are encouraged by the commitment made by Senators Stabenow, Collins, Markey, Capito, and Menendez to ensuring Americans, now and in the years to come, have access to critical care-planning services,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would build upon the good work that CMS has done to help provide much-needed, comprehensive care-planning services across the country.”  

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act requires Medicare to pay for an individual care plan for newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients. This new benefit encourages doctors to give a clear diagnosis to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, including information about treatment options and what medical and community services are available. 

In 2017, less than one percent of seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease received the care planning benefit created by the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act requires HHS to conduct outreach to health care practitioners about comprehensive Alzheimer’s disease care planning services, including education initiatives, and materials on appropriate diagnostic evaluations and explanations of the requirements for eligibility.


# # #