Bipartisan bill addresses lack of diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and offers care planning assistance

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) today announced the introduction of H.R. 5926 and S. 3674, The Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (H.O.P.E) for Alzheimer’s Act. Reps. Markey and Smith are the House co-chairmen of the Bipartisan, Bicameral Task Force on Alzheimer's Disease. The H.O.P.E Act will increase detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and provide access, information and support for newly diagnosed patients and their families.Sen. Stabenow is the sponsor of the Senate companion bill.

Said Rep. Markey: “While we work here in Congress to invest more funding for Alzheimer’s research to find a cure, we must also help the many affected families whose lives have already been impacted by this devastating disease. This bipartisan, bicameral bill is a good step toward ensuring that these important measures are taken. Alzheimer’s is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States—a staggering statistic. Between 11 and 16 million U.S. baby boomers are expected to develop Alzheimer’s disease, making it one of the biggest threats to retirement security.”  

Said Rep Smith: “Each year 450,000 additional families are forced to cope with the devastation of a loved one having Alzheimer’s.  The HOPE Act is needed to help these families obtain and better understand the diagnosis and the best treatments and services available for their loved one.  Families will live with Alzheimer’s an average of 4 to 6 years after diagnosis, equipping them with the best information available on treatments and support services is the least we can do as they begin that arduous journey.”

Said Sen. Stabenow: “Too many families find out about this devastating disease too late. The numbers speak for themselves: only one in five people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have actually been diagnosed.  With this legislation, we can ensure that our seniors have access to early Alzheimer’s detection and they and their families can access care planning services early.”

Currently, most people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias have not been diagnosed. Data from a study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows that only 19% of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias had a diagnosis of the condition in their primary care medical record. If enacted, the H.O.P.E Act will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to this package of services.

The H.O.P.E. Act has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association of America.

A full copy of H.R. 5926 can be found here: