December 19, 2018

Kaine Bill to Combat Alzheimer's Disease Will Become Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, praised the House of Representatives’ passage of legislation he introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) called the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. This bill will build out the systems necessary to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health. The legislation cleared the Senate unanimously on December 12th and will now head to President Trump’s desk for his signature. 

“My family, like nearly 150,000 Virginia families, knows what it’s like to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. As I’ve shared my story, it seems as though every colleague I have in the Senate and everybody I talk to out in the community has an Alzheimer’s story that’s very close to them,” Kaine said. “The number of people who have Alzheimer’s in this country is already huge, and it’s frightening to look at what the projections are in the next ten or twenty years. I’m proud that this bipartisan bill will help strengthen the public health response to Alzheimer’s so we can provide much-needed relief to those affected by this devastating disease now and in the years to come.”

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. In 2018, the United States will spend $277 billion, including $186 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid, to care for those with Alzheimer’s. The number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to nearly triple to almost 14 million by 2050, costing the nation as much as $1.1 trillion. 

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. Coordinated primarily by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would establish: 

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating public health officials, health care professionals, and the public on the most current information and research related to Alzheimer’s disease, including cognitive decline, brain health, and health disparities. 
  2. Cooperative Agreements awarded to State, Local, and Tribal Health Departments to develop and carry out evidence-based Alzheimer’s interventions, including supporting early detection and diagnosis, reducing the risk of potentially avoidable hospitalizations, improving caregiver support and care planning, among others.
  3. Improved Data Analysis and Timely Reporting that would help ensure that data on Alzheimer’s, such as cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities are analyzed and disseminated to the public in a timely manner. 

In addition to Kaine and Collins, the bill is also sponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and cosponsored by a total of 58 Senators. The legislation is supported by 183 organizations and individuals, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. 

Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, which is cosponsored by 251 members.

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