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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Applauds Inclusion of Cognitive Screening for Medicare Beneficiaries in Senate Finance Committee Health Reform Proposal
Date:9/17/2009

NEW YORK, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) today applauded Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), who spearheaded the provision, for including cognitive impairment screening for Medicare beneficiaries in Baucus' healthcare reform proposal, "America's Healthy Future Act of 2009."

AFA had pressed for cognitive screening in light of the escalating incidence of Alzheimer's disease among aging Americans and mounting evidence that early diagnosis of memory problems is critical to appropriate treatment, behavioral interventions and support services. Early detection of memory problems is one of AFA's major national initiatives, highlighted by its annual National Memory Screening Day held each November.

"We applaud and thank Senator Carper and Chairman Baucus for their leadership in recognizing the value of cognitive screening and its potential impact on quality of life for older Americans," said Eric J. Hall, AFA's president and CEO. "The inclusion of cognitive screenings in Medicare wellness visits will help initiate long overdue and vital discussions about brain health between consumers and healthcare professionals."

Richard E. Powers, M.D., chairman of AFA's Medical Advisory Board, said it is noteworthy that the provision for the cognitive screenings, as well as the overall comprehensive health assessment, is framed in the context of disease prevention.

"Being proactive about risk factors and about memory concerns is the only way to attack this public health crisis," he said. "This is a major step forward toward elevating this issue to the stature deserved by all Americans."

Baucus' healthcare proposal, released yesterday as a "Chairman's Mark," or recommendation by a committee chair, is scheduled for markup by the Senate Finance Committee on Sept
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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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