WASHINGTON (WDVM) — West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito announced new legislation that would make dementia care more accessible to people on Medicare.
The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act aims to improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Senator Capito is spearheading this bill with Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
The bipartisan bill would create a new way to fund dementia care through Medicare and reduce complications that both patients and caregivers face. The new model of managing care would help reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits and delay nursing home placement, which would improve the quality of life for patients and make treatment more affordable.
The bill would help 95 percent of individuals with dementia that have one or more other chronic conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes. The bill would also eliminate cost-sharing for patients and would pay providers a monthly amount based on the type and quality of care the patient is receiving. This would allow for both large and small health care providers, such as hospitals, community health centers, and rural health clinics, to participate.
The bill would also ensure that caregivers are supported and able to participate in the coordination and management of care. Finally, the bill would require outreach to underrepresented populations, as well as create culturally appropriate care.
Both Sen. Capito and Sen. Stabenow share very personal connections to the issue.
“Many of you know, both of my parents, unfortunately, were afflicted with Alzheimer’s… Very, very difficult time for our family as it is for many families in West Virginia,” Sen. Capito said. “And I’m just doggone determined that I’m gonna do what I can to help.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are over 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and over 11 million Americans provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.