Progress continues in funding the war against Alzheimer’s. The Obama administration, through the Health and Human Services Department, will immediately reallocate $50 million in research funds this year (2012) and will request an additional $80 million in its fiscal 2013 budget. This represent a 25% increase over the current annual investment in Alzheimer’s.
A tremendous amount of credit goes to Senator Susan M. Collins (R – Maine), Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia), Congressman Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts), Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey); all co-sponsors of various Alzheimer’s legislation.
Another encouraging step was contained in the meeting notes from the January advisory council on Alzheimer’s research, care and services as required under the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). This act requires the department of Health and Human Services to create a strategic plan for the federal government’s role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease. This puts Alzheimer’s on a similar path taken by the Government for AIDS and cancer.
I was pleased to see these elements highlighted for further consideration:
- Financial relief, such as tax rebates, for families who are paying out-of-pocket for their loved ones’ care.
- Launch a public awareness campaign that promotes awareness and early detection, with special focus on diverse communities and populations (e.g., younger-onset, persons with intellectual disabilities).
- Launch an additional campaign on early detection targeted at educating health care professionals.
- Redesign Medicare coverage and physician reimbursement to encourage and to provide care planning for diagnosed individuals and their caregivers.
The meting notes are well presented and give insight to how NAPA is addressing the growing crisis.
The battle continues with exciting announcements coming almost daily. While encouraging, we must keep in mind a cure is still far away and every announcement involving a new idea or test case in animals still requires years of human testing before we know if it works. You can see the current al trials at the National Institute on Aging’s site.
As I have said many times, with the devastation this disease brings to individuals, finances and families; Alzheimer’s must take center stage in healthcare. And we must never give up hope.
Finally, I wanted to share this outstanding video created by Richard Roman and Jenna Pothoff. Please visit their site for their full story.
Memories are Everything