Letter: Improving Alzheimer’s care
To the Editor:
I am writing to thank Congressman Randy Hultgren for recently joining 241 of his colleagues in co-sponsoring the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, just in time for National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November as a month in which we should recognize the millions who suffer from this disease, and the families, friends and paid professionals who work so hard to care for them. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would provide comprehensive care planning services for individuals and caregivers after a dementia diagnosis, and ensure the diagnosis is documented in medical charts.Since Alzheimer’s complicates the management of other chronic conditions and seniors with Alzheimer’s have more than three times as many hospital stays as other seniors, this disease is the most expensive to treat of any in the U.S. Last year alone, Americans spent more than $225 billion on medical care for people with dementia, $150 billion of which was spent by the federal government through the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Care planning and shared diagnosis during early stages greatly will reduce costs by allowing providers to coordinate with one another and better manage the patient’s health care.
As a longtime Alzheimer’s Association volunteer, I truly appreciate Hultgren’s actions.
They will help improve care for people who really need it and reduce the cost of that care at a time when our government needs to watch every penny.