As Congress debates what to cut in the Reconciliation Bill, I hope Speaker Pelosi remembers the needs of 11 million Americans caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.
The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act (HR_2517) would have helped my family after my late mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The hospital told my Dad he had to move her into a specific facility. My dad took mom out of that facility and brought her home, but within a week she ended up back in the ER with major dehydration. A Vacaville senior center counselor helped him find a different facility which had different cottages based on the necessary level of care.
The Senior Center counselor helped him to find a home care agency. Dad took mom home and hired caregivers for 6 hours a day. Mom knew us but didn’t talk much and needed help with stuff like cleaning and dressing. Within 6 months mom was hospitalized with pneumonia. Only then did the doctor tell dad that letting mom stay in bed all day caused the pneumonia. The hospitalizations and going in and out of facilities could have been prevented.
The Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act would allow Medicare providers to receive a capitated, per patient, per month payment for comprehensive care management services, including medication management, care coordination and health financial, and environmental monitoring as well as trainings and other support services for unpaid caregivers. All of these services would have helped my dad to know how to care for mom at home and would be provided through interdisciplinary care teams which would ensure access to a team member or primary care providers 24-7.
The Dementia Care Ecosystem at UCSF is a model of this program, which has shown that it can reduce hospitalizations and emergency department visits and delay nursing home placement. This would have improved the quality of life for my parents and reduce total costs to Medicare.
Categories: letter to the editor