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Kaine introduces bill to combat Alzheimer’s

tim kaineToday, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee joined U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) to introduce the bipartisan Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act.

This legislation would build out the systems necessary to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“As the number of people diagnosed and living with Alzheimer’s disease continues to grow, we have to help alleviate the burden this disease has on our health care system and families across Virginia,” Kaine said. “States often lack resources that would help caregivers address patient needs. This bipartisan bill would improve care and outcomes by providing a full range of information and support to families caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s, and boosting local efforts dedicated to addressing this pressing public health need.”

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest and under-recognized public health threats of our time.  Five and a half million Americans are living with the disease, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer,” Collins said. “After decades of expanding biomedical research in Alzheimer’s, we are ready for the next step: to translate research into practice.  I urge my colleagues to join us as cosponsors of this critical bipartisan legislation.”

“As one of the leading causes of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s prevention is crucial to combatting this debilitating disease,”Cortez Masto said. “The number of Americans afflicted with this illness is growing at a staggering pace, and without intervention, nearly 16,000,000 Americans could be affected by 2050. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will address the scourge of Alzheimer’s by creating centers of excellence and assisting state and local governments in their efforts to promote awareness through education and dissemination of best practices. We must work to promote Alzheimer’s prevention, enhance access to treatment, improve patients’ quality of life and find ways to end Alzheimer’s before it claims more lives.”

“Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease that affects millions of Americas and their loved ones, and the more we can do to find a cure, the better. At the same time, we must also do what we can to ease the pain of those suffering and provide help to caregivers, taking a truly comprehensive approach to this fight,” Capito said. “By creating a public health infrastructure, this bipartisan legislation will help us tackle Alzheimer’s on all fronts and move us closer to finding a cure.”

         

“Too often, Alzheimer’s and other dementias are viewed as normal issues of aging, rather than as fatal disease, with devastating effects for caregivers as well,” said Harry Johns, Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement President and CEO. “The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act invests in a nationwide Alzheimer’s public health response, which will improve quality of life for those living with the disease and their caregivers, while reducing costs for both American families and for our country. We deeply appreciate the continued bipartisan leadership of the act’s sponsors in addressing the Alzheimer’s crisis.”

This legislation would apply a public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease by establishing a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Headed by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would establish: 

1.      Centers of Excellence in Public Health Practice dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health.  The centers would implement the CDC’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map, and would take key steps to support health and social services professionals as well as families and communities. This legislation would authorize $12 million for centers across the nation.

2.      Core Capacity and Enhanced Activity Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that would be awarded to State Health Departments to develop and carry out Alzheimer’s interventions. Core capacity awards would help states build a foundation, and enhanced activity awards would help those states that are carrying out public health Alzheimer’s steps to amplify their initiatives through public-private partnerships. This legislation would authorize $20 million for this process.

3.      Data Analysis and Reporting Cooperative Agreements with CDC that would ensure that data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities are analyzed and disseminated to the public in a timely manner. This legislation authorizes $5 million for these awards as well as to increase the CDC’s data collection capacity.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and the National Association of Counties.  Click here and here to read their letters of support.

For a one-pager on the bill, click here.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

 
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