Ohio House approvesbills seeking to helpwith Alzheimer’s care


On June 26 at the Ohio Statehouse, the overwhelming passage of House bills 397 and 24 marked a huge victory for the 236,200 Ohioans living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as their 414,000 unpaid caregivers and the thousands of people who are projected to be diagnosed with the disease in the future.

Ohio House Bill 397, which passed unanimously and was sponsored by Rep. James Hoops and Rep. Rachel Baker, will create a public awareness campaign coordinated through the Ohio Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Aging, the Commission on Minority Health, and other community organizations, to increase education and understanding of cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of dementia. It also will incorporate dementia awareness information into its public health outreach programs.

House Bill 24, which passed by a vote of 76 – 17 and was sponsored by Rep. Andrea White, will help set the stage for access to diagnostic advancements. The passage of the bill will ensure that Ohioans can access necessary biomarker testing, reducing the time it takes to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and gain access to new disease-modifying treatments and care planning. Without this legislation, dementia diagnoses may take up to two years, increasing the costs of care and decreasing the quality of life for those living with the disease.

“Given the enormous burden Alzheimer’s has on individuals living with the disease and their families, Alzheimer’s and dementia must remain a public health priority for our state and our nation,” said Trey Addison, regional director of public policy for the Alzheimer’s Association in Ohio.

The two bills are key to improving awareness of Alzheimer’s in Ohio, as well as increasing early detection and diagnosis and increasing access and utilization of current resources by Ohioans.

“The discovery that Alzheimer’s begins 20 years or more before the onset of symptoms suggests that there is a substantial window of time in which we may be able to intervene in the disease’s progression,” said Addison. “Scientific advances are already making progress in these pre-symptomatic years.”

The Alzheimer’s Association joined a national coalition of 50 health organizations, including the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, the ALS Association, and the Arthritis Foundation, to expand insurance coverage for comprehensive biomarker testing.

Because diagnosis leads to lower costs of care for people living with dementia, access to biomarker testing can accelerate cost savings. In a 2018 analysis, diagnosis led to projected cost savings of approximately $63,000 per person, including $30,000 in Medicare savings, $20,000 in Medicaid savings, and $13,000 in other savings.

Both bills will go through the state Senate committee process. Addison hopes that process and final vote by the Senate will take place by this fall. Individuals are encouraged to contact their legislators to offer their support of both bills.

Submitted by The Alzheimer’s Association.

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