The National Association of Activity Professionals recently signed on with the LEAD Coalition and many other organizations to sponsor Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act (H.R.3354).
The CHANGE Act will strengthen dementia detect and diagnosis, in turn catalyzing improved care, helping promote health equity, and accelerating science to prevent, effectively treat and eventually cure Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. Specifically, the CHANGE Act:
- Directs the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require use of cognitive impairment detection tools identified by the National Institute on Aging during Medicare Annual Wellness Visits (AWV) and Welcome to Medicare Visits (WMV). Use of these tools will allow clinicians to better detect mild cognitive impairment and other early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia. If cognitive impairment is detected, patients are to be referred for additional testing, to community-based support services, and to appropriate clinical trials.
- Requires CMS to lead, create, adopt, and recognize quality measures and incentives to promote the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related forms of dementia, disclosure of diagnosis, and appropriate care planning services, including potential for clinical trial participation.
Providers need not rely on direct observation alone. Free, easy-to-use, validated assessment tools exist and a number of these tools are listed on the National Institute on Aging (NIA) website. The CHANGE Act requires Medicare both to equip providers to use these tools and to be incentivized for their uniform use, which will improve care for millions of American families currently facing dementia. When people receive a timely and accurate diagnosis, they have improved opportunities to make informed and productive medical, financial, legal, and spiritual choices to strengthen both their own quality of life and that of their family caregivers.
NAAP proudly supports this change.