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Local chapter advocates Alzheimer’s funding

The Alzheimer’s Association's local chapter's address 117-A Longwood Drive SE in Huntsville. CONTRIBUTED
The Alzheimer’s Association’s local chapter’s address 117-A Longwood Drive SE in Huntsville. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – In Alabama, 86,000 people live with Alzheimer’s disease, a serious situation compounded by skyrocketing costs and lack of insurance for many individuals.

Congress took a meaningful step toward finding an effective treatment with the Alzheimer’s Accountability Act passed in December 2014, Brandi Medina said. Medina is Director of Programs & Education with the Alzheimer’s Association, Mid-South Chapter in Huntsville.

With the act, Congress has required National Institutes of Health to submit a professional judgment budget to Congress annually until 2025. “With a robust plan in place to fight back against Alzheimer’s disease, it’s imperative that the federal government fund it,” Medina said.

Medina thanked U.S. Congressman Robert Aderholt for supporting the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alabama, Medicaid costs for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will total $751 million in 2015. That total will increase 46.6 percent by 2025, according to a new report from the Alzheimer’s Association.

“People with Alzheimer’s rely on Medicaid at a rate nearly three times greater than other seniors due to the disease’s long duration, intense personal care needs and high cost of long-term care services,” Medina said.

To allow patients to remain in their communities, Medicaid supports individuals with Alzheimer’s disease in institutions and provides home- and community-based services, like adult day programs, transportation and respite care.

With Medicaid’s rising costs for people with Alzheimer’s, “Alabama must immediately begin addressing the needs of those affected by this devastating disease – both for those who have the disease now and those who will get the disease in the future,” Medina said.

Alzheimer’s disease is a triple threat because of its soaring prevalence, lack of treatment and enormous costs that no one can afford.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s local chapter’s address 117-A Longwood Drive SE in Huntsville. For more information, call the 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit ALZ.org/altn.

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