Medicare To Provide Coverage For Individuals Living With Alzheimer’s Disease

Coverage For Critical Care And Support Services

For the first time, people living with Alzheimer’s disease will have access to care planning with a medical professional. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized its decision to pay for cognitive and functional assessments and care planning for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive impairments. CMS has now made it easier for physicians to provide critical care and support services for persons living with Alzheimer’s disease. Following a diagnosis, care planning is crucial to improving outcomes and maintaining quality of life for the diagnosed and their caregivers, as well as controlling costs and planning appropriately for the future.

“This is a step in the right direction and an important milestone for the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease. The decision by CMS will provide much needed care and support to these individuals and their caregivers. The impact it will have on those families is priceless. The fact that this disease is finally being recognized as a true epidemic is critical to the growth in funding and research we need to finally end this disease,” said Becky Prince, Executive Director, Greater Dallas, Alzheimer’s Association.

More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease today, and that number could rise as high as 16 million by 2050. What’s more, over 85 percent of people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias have one or more other chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Care planning is critical for coordinating care and managing chronic conditions.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America at a cost of $236 billion annually, it is also the only leading cause of death in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. In Texas 350,000 people have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and by 2025, this number is expected to grow 40 percent to 490,000.

“Thousands of our families have reached out to us over the past several months to tell us how essential this service is for those contending with Alzheimer’s disease. Now that CMS is increasing access to cognitive assessment and care planning sessions, individuals and their medical professionals can develop a plan to better manage these conditions,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer. “Proper care planning results in fewer hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits and better management of medication — all of which improves the quality of life for both patients and caregivers, and helps manage overall care costs.”

For more information about this new Alzheimer’s care planning coverage, visit www.cms.gov. To find out more information about Alzheimer’s disease, visit alz.org or call the 24/7 helpline 1-800-272-3900.~