Sánchez, LaHood, Matsui, Upton Introduce Bill to Improve Assessment, Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

May 19, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-CA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL), members of the Ways and Means Committee, along with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Fred Upton (R-MI), have re-introduced the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act to encourage early assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. With as many as 12.7 million Americans ages 65 and older expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 2050, the legislation seeks to aide caregivers and accelerate progress to disease modifying treatments.

Companion legislation has also been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

“Like millions of families across the country, my family knows all too well the devastating toll Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can have. After seeing both of my parents through the disease – and serving as a caregiver myself – I know how critical a timely diagnosis is. Family caregivers sacrifice so much to provide the support and care their loved ones need. It is vital that we ensure they have as much information and help as early as possible,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. “I am proud to work with my colleagues to re-introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to promote and streamline early assessment and diagnosis. The CHANGE Act provides critical support to patients and their family caregivers. With millions more Americans, particularly people of color, expected to be diagnosed in the coming decades, we can’t afford to wait.”

“Alzheimer’s affects millions of Americans each day, and the search for a cure must be relentless. I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan, bicameral bill that will provide help to patients, families, caregivers, and physicians through expanded early detection support and improved data collection,” said Congressman Darin LaHood. “The CHANGE Act will strengthen existing tools within Medicare to help streamline and broaden the ability for earlier diagnosis of dementias. As a strong advocate in Congress to find an end to Alzheimer’s, I will continue to work to find ways to support patients and their families."

“Early assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is critical to getting people the best possible care and supporting their caregivers,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “As more Americans live longer lives, we must act now to make sure we have the right tools in place to deliver high-value Alzheimer’s care. By supporting early diagnosis, more research, and greater resources for family caregivers, the CHANGE Act provides a vital roadmap for us to continue taking steps forward to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer’s.” 

“Nearly 200,000 Michiganders who are aged 65 and older live with Alzheimer’s, and another 463,000 Michiganders served as caregivers. These numbers demonstrate how many families in Michigan and across the nation are impacted by this cruel disease,” said Congressman Fred Upton. “As someone who is committed to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s and all of the world’s toughest diseases, I am proud to help introduce the CHANGE Act as we use every tool in our tool box to support patients, caregivers, and their families.”    

Organizations supporting this legislation include: UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, Alzheimer's Association, Alzheimer's Impact Movement, Alliance for Aging Research, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, AMDA The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, Jewish Federation of North America, Leading Age, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, and The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care.

“Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every minute, and the CHANGE Act is needed because more than 60 percent of Alzheimer’s cases in adults over 65 years old go unrecognized,” said George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “The CHANGE Act would encourage early detection of Alzheimer’s. Doing so is critical since the earlier we detect a disease, the better the chance to beat it, through new disease-slowing medicines as well as through adopting modifiable risk factors,” he added. A 2020 research study from the Lancet Commission found that up to 40 percent of dementia cases could be preventable through implementing behavior changes around 12 modifiable risk factors.” 

“We thank these Senate and House sponsors for their leadership in the fight against Alzheimer’s and look forward to working with these legislators and their colleagues to advance the CHANGE Act and strengthen early detection policies,” Vradenburg said.

“The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is pleased to support the CHANGE Act and thanks Congresswoman Sanchez for introducing this bipartisan legislation,” said Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “Encouraging early assessment and detection of Alzheimer’s disease and providing greater support for family caregivers is critically important, especially with the CDC projecting the number of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s to nearly triple by 2060. AFA looks forward to working with Congresswoman Sanchez and her colleagues in support of this legislation.”

Alzhzimer’s is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in the United States without an effective means of prevention, treatment, or cure. The CHANGE Act supports, incentivizes, and authorizes high-value Alzheimer’s patient care, caregiver support, and research initiatives to improve prevention and treatment and move toward a cure for the disease.

Specifically, the CHANGE Act:

  • Requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify a uniform, reliable cognitive impairment detection tool or set of tools that will incentivize clinicians to detect, refer, and diagnose Alzheimer’s and related dementias in their earliest stages.
  • Establishes payment measures to incentivize the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementias and discussion of appropriate care planning services, including potential for clinical trial participation.

The CHANGE Act is also cosponsored by Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ), Jason Smith (R-MO), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA), Bill Posey (R-FL), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Peter Welch (D-VT), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Marie Newman (D-IL), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Tom Cole (R-OK), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Val Demings (D-FL), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Mike Doyle (D-PA), William Keating (D-MA), Ann Kuster (D-NH), and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ).

More information on the bill is available here.

Legislative text is available here.

 

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