With so much attention being given to the growing number of people with Alzheimer’s disease in Washington state, I’m grateful that our congressman, Dan Newhouse, has cosponsored a bill that will help them and their families.
The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act is a bill to provide better care coordination planning after a Medicare beneficiary receives an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Too often we hear that after the testing and diagnosis is done, the physician gives the patient and family no guidance for what’s next.
In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association in March released a report showing that only 45 percent of the people diagnosed with the disease are actually told of that diagnosis, versus over 90 percent of the time for the four most-common cancer diagnoses.
One reason is that physicians are not properly reimbursed for taking the time to sit down with the patient and family to help them through this difficult news. This bill would cover that time and also launch an effort to educate physicians about the new coverage.
Rep. Newhouse wisely recognizes this is a problem and that Congress needs to respond. I hope that Sen. Maria Cantwell joins him and Sen. Patty Murray in cosponsoring this needed legislation.
Bill Baker, Pasco