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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Hails Significant Provisions for Dementia Community in Health Reform Law
Date:3/23/2010

NEW YORK, March 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Foundation of America issued the following statement on the health reform legislation that was signed into law today by President Obama:  

"The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) is extremely pleased that the historic health reform signed into law by President Obama late this morning, after passing the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday and the U.S. Senate in December, includes a number of provisions that are especially significant for AFA's constituents—and bode well for improving quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and their family caregivers. In particular, we are grateful that the final action addresses many of the practical and financial needs faced daily by this population, speaks to preventative issues and bolsters training of dementia care professionals.

"In sync with our mission of 'caring for the nation,' AFA strongly advocated for these meaningful provisions:

  • Inclusion of 'detection of any cognitive impairment' in the new annual wellness exam for Medicare beneficiaries is a new and much-needed provision for early identification of memory problems or Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. AFA was the impetus behind this important benefit.
  • The Nursing Home Transparency Act enhances American families' access to information about the quality of care in nearly 16,000 nursing homes that receive $75 billion a year in Medicare and Medicaid funds, and will improve the government's ability to ensure quality care and better-trained staff at those facilities.  
  • Independence at Home Act demonstration provides home-based coordinated care for high-cost Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions, which, studies show, can reduce healthcare expenditures, improve quality of care and enhance health outcomes. 
  • The Elder Justice Act strengthens the network of agencies that investigate abuse and neglect in facilities and in the community, including improving the training of long-term care ombudsmen and state health inspectors, requiring reporting of neglect and abuse, and ensuring that residents are protected when nursing homes close. 
  • Background checks in long-term care facilities for employees with direct-patient access gives families greater assurance that their loved ones are safe because it will require these employees to pass a background check for previous criminal activity and abuse. 
  • The CLASS Act creates a disability insurance program financed through voluntary payroll deductions for adults who become unable to perform at least two activities of daily living, and provides a much-needed benefit to help obtain services and supports, while providing disabled individuals more choices and opportunities to live and participate in their communities.  
  • Direct care training funding over three years will help to establish new training opportunities for direct care workers that provide long-term care services and supports. 
  • Geriatric workforce provisions authorize funding to geriatric education centers to support training in geriatrics, chronic care management and long-term care for faculty in health professions schools and family caregivers; develop curricula and best practices in geriatrics; expand the geriatric career awards to advanced practice nurses, clinical social workers, pharmacists and psychologists; and establish traineeships for individuals who are preparing for advanced education nursing degrees in geriatric nursing. 
  • Clinical Trials Provision prohibits insurers from dropping coverage because an individual chooses to participate in a clinical trial and from denying coverage for routine care that they would otherwise provide just because an individual is enrolled in a clinical trial for the treatment of life-threatening diseases.   

"Several other provisions that passed as part of health reform will also be of great help:

  • Provides assistance to Medicare beneficiaries in the 'doughnut hole' or gap in prescription drug coverage.
  • Ends insurance company practices of discriminating and denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, health status or gender.
  • Eliminates co-pays for preventative Medicare benefits."

The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is a nonprofit organization based in New York City that focuses on providing optimal care to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related illnesses, and their families, and unites 1,400+ member organizations nationwide that provide hands-on programs. AFA's services include a toll-free hot line with counseling by licensed social workers, a free caregiver magazine, a National Memory Screening Day initiative and the AFA Quilt to Remember.  For information, call 866-AFA-8484 or visit www.alzfdn.org.  

SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America

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SOURCE Alzheimer's Foundation of America
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