Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on the bipartisan Improving HOPE (Health, Outcomes, Planning, and Education) for Alzheimer’s Act to increase awareness among health care providers and utilization among patients and caregivers of individual care planning resources – a critical new Medicare benefit. In 2017, the first year Medicare began covering individual care planning, less than one percent of seniors living with Alzheimer’s received the benefit.
“For patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, individualized care planning services can provide valuable education on the prognosis, treatment options, and community resources available to those suffering from dementia. No senior should have to go without this critical service simply because of a lack of awareness of the benefit. That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor legislation which will increase awareness about vital Medicare care planning services and help ensure all patients and caregivers receive the support they need in the face of this relentless disease.”
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. 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.
Yet, 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.