Help for Alzheimers

Dear Editor,

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 designed to provide better care-coordination planning after Medicare beneficiaries receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Too often we hear that after the testing and diagnosis is done, physicians gives the patients and families 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 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 of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This bill would cover that time, and also launch an effort to educate physicians about the new coverage.

Congressman Newhouse wisely recognizes this is a problem and that Congress needs to respond. I hope that Senator Maria Cantwell too joins him and Senator Patty Murray in cosponsoring this needed legislation.

Bill Baker

Pasco, Washington