Framingham Delegation Joins Colleagues in Passing Massachusetts Alzheimer’s and Dementia Legislation

FRAMINGHAM –  Representative Chris Walsh (D-Framingham), Representative Jack Lewis (D-Framingham) and Representative Carmine Gentile (D-Sudbury) joined their colleagues in the House to pass legislation which establishes an Alzheimer’s disease Advisory Council.

The bill also requires the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to conduct an assessment on existing state efforts and implement a state plan to address the disease.

There are currently 120,000 individuals in Massachusetts with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and experts predict the prevalence of Alzheimer’s will increase 25 percent in the next decade. Currently, more than 300,000 people in Massachusetts act as caregivers to one these patients.

In 2017, Medicaid costs for caring for people with the disease totaled $1.55 billion.

“I strongly support the House’s effort to address the public health crisis that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia pose on the Commonwealth. As a caregiver, I fully recognize the challenges that families throughout the state face in combatting this disease and I applaud the initiative to help those suffering and expand support systems,” stated Representative Chris Walsh (D-Framingham).

“Alzheimer’s disease affects each and every one of our families.  Most of us have experienced first-hand the effects of the disease on someone we love so dearly, and I am honored to join my House colleagues in taking this important step to expand supports for our Commonwealth’s families,” said Representative Lewis (D-Framingham).

“Alzheimer patients will receive better care and their family members will be more at ease with the implementation of this legislation. We look forward to the day when a cure is found,” said Representative Gentile (D-Sudbury).

The legislation creates minimum-training standards for elder protective services social workers and establishes a continuing education requirement for medical professionals to improve the diagnosis, care, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

In an effort to strengthen a patient’s support network and improve communication, physicians will be granted increased flexibility when sharing medical information with a patient’s family throughout diagnosis and treatment. These changes operate within the existing legal framework of federal and state medical information privacy laws. The legislation also requires a new, one-time continuing education requirement for physicians, physician’s assistants, registered nurses, and practical nurses, which will include training in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s disease Advisory Council, established in the legislation, will be required to meet quarterly and will provide Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Legislature with recommendations on Alzheimer’s policy, an evaluation of state-funded research, care and programming, and any outcomes of such efforts. Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services will create an integrated state plan to facilitate the coordination of government efforts while ensuring that appropriate resources are maximized and leveraged.

The legislation requires hospitals to implement an operational plan for recognizing and managing individuals with dementia.

Hospitals must complete and implement their operational plan by October 1, 2021, and provide the Department of Public Health with the plan as requested.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: Phone: 508-315-7176

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