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Kaine, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize Programs Combatting Alzheimer’s Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act of 2024. This legislation would reauthorize funding for public health initiatives across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health. These initiatives began when the original BOLD Act, authored by this same bipartisan group of four senators, was signed into law.

“Alzheimer’s impacts thousands of Virginia families, and the BOLD Act has taken major steps to improve prevention, treatment, and care for the disease—but there’s more we can do,” said Senator Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. “By reauthorizing and expanding the BOLD Act, this bill will help educate Virginians and health care providers on Alzheimer’s, encourage early-detection, and offer critical support caregivers need.”

Specifically, the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer Act accelerated a multi-pronged public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease. Headed by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), the reauthorization would authorize $33 million per year, in line with current appropriations, over the next five years to support:

  • 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 the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health.  The three current Centers have established themselves as national resources and are supporting nationwide implementation of the actions outlined in the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative's Road Map. Each center is focused on a key issue related to dementia—from risk reduction to early detection to caregiving. 
  • Public Health Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that are awarded to State Health Departments to help them meet local needs in promoting brain health, reducing risk of cognitive decline, improving care for those with Alzheimer’s, and other key public health activities.  43 Public Health Departments, including Virginia’s, across the United States are now promoting a strong public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with the support of BOLD awards.
  • Data Grants to improve the analysis and timely reporting of data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities at the state and national levels.

Approximately 6.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the United States spends more than $345 billion per year, including $222 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid, to manage the disease. Barring any major breakthroughs to prevent, slow down, or cure Alzheimer’s, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to double by 2050, costing the nation more than $1.1 trillion per year.

With Senator Kaine’s support, funding for the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer Act has grown from $10 million in fiscal year 2020 to $33 million in fiscal year 2023. In 2019, the Virginia Department of Health received over $900,000 in funding from BOLD Program Awards. This investment has allowed for great progress in revising the Commonwealth’s Dementia Roadmap guide for people impacted by dementia. In 2023, the Virginia Department of Health received a second BOLD award from the BOLD Public Health Programs initiative. This award provides over $2 million over five years to address provider education through projects and trainings such as Project ECHO, EssentiALZ trainings, and community health worker bilingual trainings.  

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer Act was first introduced by Senators Kaine, Collins, Cortez Masto, and Capito in 2017. The Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act of 2024 is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Impact Movement.

U.S. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.