Reps. Maxine Waters, Chris Smith Introduce Alzheimer’s Action Now
WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ), Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease, today introduced Alzheimer’s Action Now, a package of four bills that together will help Alzheimer’s patients and their families; promote public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease; and encourage voluntary contributions to research efforts. The entire legislative package has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and USAgainstAlzheimer’s.
“I have asked all of my colleagues to cosponsor Alzheimer’s Action Now,” said Congresswoman Waters. “With more than five million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, we must do everything we can to confront this disease and help the patients and families who are struggling to live with it.”
“Alzheimer’s Action Now is a package of bills which, if enacted, will encourage quality care of Alzheimer’s patients and assist their families,” said Congressman Smith. “The support offered through these policies will have a direct and positive impact on the 15 million Americans who act as unpaid caregivers, and help enable them to continue their heroic service to their loved ones.”
The Alzheimer’s Action Now legislative package includes the following bills:
The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Act (H.R. 3090), introduced today by Rep. Waters with 44 original cosponsors, authorizes grants to public and non-profit organizations to expand training and support services for families and caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. With the majority of Alzheimer’s patients living at home, under the care of family and friends, it is important to ensure these caregivers have access to the training and resources they need to provide effective, compassionate care.
The Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3091), introduced today by Rep. Waters with 44 original cosponsors, reauthorizes a Department of Justice program that helps local communities and law enforcement officials quickly identify persons with Alzheimer’s disease who wander away from their homes and reunite them with their families. This program saves law enforcement officials valuable time and allows them to focus on other security concerns. It also reduces injuries and deaths among Alzheimer’s patients, and it brings peace of mind to their families.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Semipostal Stamp Act (H.R. 3092), introduced today by Rep. Waters with 46 original cosponsors, requires the U.S. Postal Service to issue and sell a semipostal stamp, with the proceeds helping to fund Alzheimer’s research at the National Institutes of Health. This bill will raise public awareness about Alzheimer’s and encourage concerned individuals to get involved and make voluntary contributions to Alzheimer’s research efforts. The bill is modeled on the popular and successful Breast Cancer Research Semipostal Stamp.
The Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act (H.R. 1559), introduced on March 24th by Rep. Smith, now with over 200 cosponsors, would provide Medicare coverage of a care planning session to explain medical and non-medical options for Alzheimer’s treatment and offer support for newly-diagnosed individuals. While Medicare currently covers a diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s for beneficiaries, the program offers little support in terms of next steps. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will ensure that patients and caregivers have information on available resources and an individualized plan to cope, providing a path forward for millions of American families.
The Co-Chairs also marked the Administration’s release of the 2015 Update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease. The National Plan established the critical goals of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease by 2025; enhancing care quality and efficiency; expanding supports for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families; enhancing public awareness; and tracking progress. The 2015 Update was released earlier this week during the White House Conference on Aging and may be found online at the following link:
“I congratulate the Administration for completing the 2015 Update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Congresswoman Waters. “I look forward to reviewing the update and working with the Administration and my colleagues in the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease to achieve the plan’s goals.”
“The 2015 Update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease released this week shows progress but highlights how much more work we have to do,” said Congressman Smith. “As my colleagues and I review the update to the Plan, I strongly encourage Members of Congress to support this legislation needed to improve care for Alzheimer’s.”