Senators Praise CMS Proposal to Implement HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act
July 26, 2016 01:48 PM
U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ed Markey (D-MA) recently praised a proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that would effectively implement their legislation, the Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act. The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act would require the Medicare program to cover an initial comprehensive care plan for beneficiaries newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
The Senators introduced the bipartisan legislation in March 2015. In June 2016 the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations Subcommittee approved a FY2017 funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services and other federal agencies, which contained the legislation (see previous NAHC Report article here).
In a press release, the Senators said the new benefit would encourage doctors “to give a clear diagnosis to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, including information about treatment options and what medical and community services are available.”
“The news that care planning sessions for Alzheimer’s patients and their families will be covered under Medicare is a victory for those across West Virginia and the nation who are battling this devastating disease,” said Senator Capito. “Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s can be very overwhelming, and this provision will provide patients and their caretakers with the information they need to make informed decisions about treatment options.”
“This announcement is hugely important to those living with Alzheimer's disease and the loved ones who help care for them every day,” said Senator Stabenow. “My HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act called for care planning sessions for Alzheimer’s patients and their families and I’m pleased that CMS is now proposing to cover these vital services under Medicare. While there's more work to be done in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, this is a strong sign that additional support and services are on the way.”
"By allowing Medicare beneficiaries to receive a care planning session, this proposed rule would provide essential support for newly-diagnosed individuals and their families who are facing Alzheimer’s,” said Senator Collins. “I am pleased that CMS has recognized the importance of this benefit, which was one of the provisions in our HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. As the Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force, I will continue to work to ensure that Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers have the support they need.”
"This proposal is a huge step toward fulfilling the mission of the HOPE Act. Early detection, a documented diagnosis and access to care planning services are key to helping ensure better outcomes for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Senator Markey. “The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act gives patients exactly that, hope - for a diagnosis that will help them get connected to critical resources and manage other chronic conditions they are likely to face. This proposal when finalized will mean patients, caregivers and families can learn what treatments are available and plan for the challenges that lie ahead."
Similar legislation was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) along with 301 cosponsors.
CMS has proposed the new service to begin in calendar year 2017.