Massachusetts Advocacy Day
Thank you for your support. We had an outstanding day at this year’s Massachusetts Advocacy Day. Be sure to visit our gallery to see more.
Alzheimer’s is a growing public health crisis and state governments must take bold action. Effectively implementing and updating State Alzheimer’s Plans and supporting other policies will reduce the long-term impact of the disease on state budgets, and improve the lives of individuals living with dementia and their family caregivers.
For questions, please email Chelsea Gordon a firstname.lastname@example.org.
2019-2020 Legislative Priorities
An Act to improve Alzheimer's and dementia care in senior care options programs (H.614/S.367)
This legislation would require all Massachusetts Senior Care Options (SCO) plans, serving our most vulnerable populations, to provide comprehensive care planning services to SCO members that have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias pose significant challenges and costs to families and the healthcare system. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America with most of these costs borne by Medicare and Medicaid.
Comprehensive care planning approaches are effective in reducing unnecessary re-hospitalizations and ED visits, improving the management of other chronic illnesses and reducing premature nursing home placement, helping both patient and family and reducing overall healthcare costs.
Sponsors: Rep. Danielle Gregoire, Sen. Jason Lewis
An Act relative to early-onset Alzheimer's disease (H.598)
This legislation would ensure services provided through the MassHealth Frail Elder Home and Community-Based Services Waiver shall be made available to persons diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease regardless of their age, if they are otherwise eligible for such services.
Approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65 are living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Massachusetts Medicaid—called MassHealth—operates the Frail Elderly Waiver specifically to help residents who require nursing home level care to receive health care and ongoing support services in their homes or community living residences instead of in a nursing home.
Those with younger-onset Alzheimer’s or related dementias younger age often precludes them from appropriate access to critical services like the MassHealth Frail Elder Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) Waiver.
Sponsor: Rep. Bruce Ayers
An Act to Establish the Family Caregiver Tax Credit (H.2608/S.702)
The legislation will provide family caregivers with an income tax credit to cover expenses incurred by a taxpayer for the care and support of a qualifying family member. The amount of the credit is equal to 100% of eligible expenses, with a maximum allowable credit of $1,500 per year.
In homes and communities across the United States, millions of Americans quietly care for older parents, spouses and other loved ones, often with dementia, helping them to remain at home. There are more than 844,000 family caregivers in Massachusetts (340,000 of which are caring for someone with dementia) whose unpaid care totals more than $11 billion every year.
Family caregivers help their loved ones with everything from bathing and dressing to preparing meals and administering medication, usually while also working full- or part- time jobs. This bill, if passed would help make family caregivers’ big responsibilities a little bit easier.
Sponsors: Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. David Rogers
FY2020 $150,000 state budget appropriation for an Alzheimer’s public awareness and education campaign (Budget Item: 4513-1111)
In line with the recommendations from the existing State Alzheimer’s Disease Plan, and the Centers for Disease Control Healthy Brain Initiative, we support state funding for a Public Awareness Campaign on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s and related dementia. This item has been funded at $100,000 in recent fiscal years. We seek an additional $150,000 for FY2020 that has already been approved by the House of Representatives.
The Alzheimer’s Association has used these resources to connect with underserved African-American and Latino communities across the Commonwealth who are disproportionately impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Sponsors: Rep. Danielle Gregoire, Sen. Pat Jehlen
For more information regarding the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2019-2020 Legislative Priorities in Massachusetts please contact Daniel C. Zotos, Director of Public Policy & Advocacy email@example.com / (617) 393-2011
Here is what we have accomplished with your dedication and focus on the issues.
Mass Alzheimer's & Dementia Act (H.4116)
For a rundown of this bill, please click here.
Massachusetts State Alzheimer’s Plan
In response to this impending crisis, Governor Deval Patrick directed Elder Affairs (Elder Affairs), in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter, to oversee the development of a Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders State Plan. In response, these two agencies convened a statewide Advisory Committee, consisting of people with Alzheimer’s, family members, and representatives from state and local health and human service agencies, councils on aging, universities, hospitals, public safety agencies, and professional caregiver associations. Elder Affairs and the Alzheimer’s Association sought to gather first-hand the concerns and needs of Massachusetts citizens affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Four listening sessions and seven focus groups were held at locations throughout the state, involving more than four hundred people representing a wide variety of personal experiences, skills, professions and expertise. From these sessions, five major areas of concern were identified:
- Access to Services
- Caregiver Support
- Diagnosis, Treatment and Care Coordination
- Public Health Safety and Awareness
- Quality of Care
Link to State Plan Document: https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/ALZ_State_Plan_Mass.pdf
While this was a significantly beneficial undertaking we need to ensure this work continues. That is why we are advocating for the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Project Act (S.1239/H.1223), which would create an office for Alzheimer’s disease at EOHHS to coordinate government efforts and ensure that appropriate resources are maximized and leveraged.
Silver Alert (2010)
As outlined in the MA State Alzheimer’s Plan, Silver Alert Law was passed by the Legislature, and implemented by Department of Public Safety. Silver Alert, a state based program existing in many states in the US, is a public notification system used to disseminate information about missing persons in order to aid in their quick recovery, specifically older adults with dementia or other cognitive impairments who may wander. This system allows local searching to begin immediately upon the receipt of a missing person report, waiving any waiting period.
Approximately 10,000 officers are participating in mandatory statewide Dementia training that was created by the MA/NH chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in partnership with the MA Municipal Police Training Committee.
MA Silver Alert Law: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleII/Chapter6A/Section18L
2012 legislation mandated minimum dementia care standards for nursing homes, inclusive of Dementia Special Care Units (DSCUs). Includes training, therapeutic activities, physical design, and public disclosure.)
In addition, regulations were adopted regarding Assisted Living residences that focus on dementia care training requirements and environmental upgrades.
See the Nursing Home Regulations PDF for more information.
Acute Care Act (2015)
This bill created an advisory committee to address one of the last frontiers of dementia care, the hospital setting. The committee met for 9 months and released a comprehensive set of recommendations as found below:
- Hospitals should have an operational plan in place, available to the public and Department of Public Health upon request, to identify dementia and/or delirium in the ED and/or inpatient settings and to create a specialized care plan in the event that delirium, dementia, or both are detected.
- Pursuant to the CARE Act, hospitals should develop a process to ensure that designated caregivers are involved in hospital processes, specifically transfer and discharge planning, when an individual has dementia.
- Hospitals should also develop Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) measures and processes, available to the public and Department upon request, that outline the hospital’s operational plan effectiveness and include how clinical and relevant non-clinical staff receive routine training in the care of individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers.
The Committee proposes that, within the next three years, the top three recommendations become the standard of care in all Massachusetts hospitals serving an adult population. The Committee further recommends that after three years, this standard of care will be an expectation of all Massachusetts hospitals serving an adult population and will be incorporated into future survey and Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) processes.
To view the full report visit: www.mass.gov/dph/alzdementia