Peters Cosponsors Bill to Support People Living with Alzheimer’s and Their Families, Highlights Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today announced he is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation to help people living with Alzheimer’s disease get diagnosed and support patients’ families as they cope with this devastating illness. The Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education (HOPE) for Alzheimer’s Act would provide Alzheimer’s patients and their families with critical information about the disease and treatment options. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) introduced the bill, which has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association and will help 185,000 people in Michigan living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, putting a spotlight on this fatal disease that cannot be prevented or cured, as well as other forms of dementia.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating, heartbreaking illness for the individuals who are diagnosed and their families,” said Senator Peters. “As we continue the fight against Alzheimer’s, it is critical that we improve diagnosis for this disease and ensure that patients and their loved ones have the information they need to cope with the struggles caused by it. I want to applaud Senator Stabenow for her strong, consistent leadership in working to improve care planning for Alzheimer’s patients and strengthen our response to this illness.”

The HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act creates a new care-management planning session for newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients under Medicare. This new benefit would encourage doctors to diagnose more patients with Alzheimer's disease and will give patients access to a doctor visit to understand the diagnosis, treatment options, as well as the medical and community services available to them.

Fewer than half of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s say they were told the diagnosis, according to a recently released 2015 Alzheimer's Association report. In contrast, more than 90 percent of people with the four most common cancers say they were told their diagnosis. Alzheimer's disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $226 billion in 2015 according to the new report.

Over the years, studies have shown that providing patients and families with a full range of information and support results in better outcomes for those living with Alzheimer's, including higher quality of care, increased use of needed community services, reduced patient behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, and reduced caregiver stress and depression.