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Tonko Introduces Bill to Bolster Alzheimer’s Care Planning

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Washington, March 27, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTONU.S. Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) came together today to introduce H.R. 1873: Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to inform healthcare providers about care planning benefits available through Medicare. The bill would also require HHS to identify other barriers individuals may be facing in accessing care planning.

“Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is one of the scariest and most disorienting moments a family can face,” said Rep. Tonko. “Having your health care provider take the time to walk you through your diagnosis and care planning options can make all the difference during this trying time. I’m proud to introduce the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which will ensure that more families are able to take advantage of this benefit, so that they can better prepare for the challenges that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis brings, resulting in better treatment outcomes and more peace of mind.”

“On behalf of the 1 in 3 seniors who dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), thank Representative Tonko for supporting all those affected by Alzheimer's,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer's Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “Through outreach and education, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will provide clinicians with the knowledge and the tools they need to better help patients and their loved ones plans for, and live with, this devastating disease.”    

Congressman Tonko was the lead Democrat on the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act in the 114th Congress, a law that improves Medicare coverage by creating a benefit for comprehensive care planning services following a dementia diagnosis. Unfortunately, many health care providers remain unaware that this benefit is available. As a result, many eligible Medicare beneficiaries are not receiving the assistance that a comprehensive care planning visit can provide. This legislation will increase access to this vital benefit by ensuring more providers are informed and ready to offer it.

A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by sponsoring Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Ed Markey (D-MA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

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