U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today announced that for the first time Medicare will pay for new individual care plans to support Alzheimer's patients and their families. This new coverage will begin in January, 2017. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid finalized its decision, first proposed earlier in July, to pay for the new plans, effectively implementing Senator Stabenow's Health Outcomes, Planning and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer's Act. The HOPE Act is coauthored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and cosponsored by 54 other Senators.
"Today's announcement will make a major difference in the lives of Alzheimer's patients and their loved ones who help care for them every day," said Senator Stabenow. "My HOPE for Alzheimer's Act called for new care plans to be developed for patients and their families, and I'm pleased Medicare will begin paying for this vital service for the first time ever in the New Year."
"Alzheimer's is a devastating disease that takes a tremendous personal and economic toll on millions of individuals as well as their family caregivers," said Senator Collins. "As the Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer's Task Force, I know the importance of ensuring that newly-diagnosed individuals and their families obtain essential support through care planning, which was one of the provisions of our HOPE for Alzheimer's Act. I am pleased that CMS has recognized the importance of this benefit and will begin covering these services in 2017, which is a real breakthrough. I will continue to work to help Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers receive the support they need."
"This announcement is major victory for everyone suffering from Alzheimer's disease and those committed to their care,"said Senator Markey. "The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act focused on the early detection, documented diagnosis and access to care planning services that are key to helping ensure better outcomes for Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers, and today's announcement from CMS gives them exactly that -- hope. Patients, caregivers and families will welcome this new benefit that will help them learn what treatments are available so they plan for the challenges that lie ahead."
"This announcement from CMS is welcome news for the millions of Americans who are battling Alzheimer's," said Senator Capito. "Having recently cared for loved ones with this devastating disease, I understand the importance of care planning and am glad that CMS has recognized the needs of Alzheimer's patients and their caretakers. Doing so will ensure that they have the right information to make informed decisions about treatment options."
The HOPE for Alzheimer's Act requires Medicare to pay for an individual care plan for newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients. This 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.