WASHINGTON, April 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- UsAgainstAlzheimer's today applauded the bipartisan, bicameral introduction of the CHANGE Act by Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Reps. Darren Lahood (R-IL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Linda Sanchez (D-CA).
The CHANGE Act would incentivize and equip providers with the tools they need to accurately detect and diagnose Alzheimer's at its earliest stages by directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require the use of cognitive impairment detection tools identified by the National Institutes of Health.
The bill would also direct CMS to incentivize the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementias and promote care planning services, including potential for clinical trial participation, which have historically had low levels of engagement, particularly among communities of color.
"I thank this bipartisan group of legislators for their commitment and leadership in accelerating a cure for Alzheimer's," said George Vradenburg, chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer's. "This is a critical step towards providing relief for the 5.8 million Americans living with this disease, their 16 million caregivers, and the tens of millions more who are at risk for cognitive decline but are unaware of what actions they can take to address their risk. We look forward to working with these legislators and their colleagues to advance the CHANGE Act through Congress and into law."
"We have always supported the work of developing a pharmacological cure, and will continue to do so, but drug development has proven to be more complicated than we could have ever predicted," added Vradenburg. "We must also focus on additional pathways for detection, assessment, and diagnosis, including leveraging the latest science around delaying and possibly even preventing Alzheimer's through various risk-modifying behaviors. The critically important CHANGE Act will equip and incentivize providers to do just this."
Last week, the CMS announced plans for 2020 that include financial incentives to screen for and identify individuals with dementias. While CMS has recognized the importance of dementia detection, without policies in place to implement these tools, they will never realize their full potential, which makes the CHANGE Act so critical.
The CHANGE Act would spur a new understanding of the importance of brain health among Americans. And with more Americans being diagnosed earlier and receiving education on the availability of clinical trials, we could see increased participation and diversity in trials, which may accelerate a pharmacological cure for Alzheimer's.