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Alzheimer's Foundation of America Issues Statement to Senate Appropriations Committee at Hearing

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - February 26, 2014) - The Senate Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and Related Agencies held a hearing on Wednesday, entitled, "Taking a Toll on Families and the Economy: The Rising Cost of Alzheimer's Disease in America." Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., chief executive officer of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) submitted testimony, calling on Congress to attack the growing Alzheimer's disease crisis head on and consider concrete steps to provide relief to families.

Fuschillo urged Congress to appropriate $500 in additional funding for Alzheimer's disease research and caregiver supports in the FY15 budget. Among other recommendations to assist people with dementia and their families, he called for adoption of a direct home care coordination model; establish an adult day services benefit and a palliative care benefit under Medicare; and establish tax credits.

"As the incidence of Alzheimer's disease grows, costs are skyrocketing. The status quo is inadequate to meet the needs for our population," Fuschillo said.

"The Alzheimer's Foundation of America's (AFA) recommendations will help advance promising research while strengthening the safety net for individuals with long-term services and supports needs, as well as support family members and other unpaid caregivers, whose participation in providing such long-term services and supports will continue to be essential.

"In addition, new delivery models that increase care management and care coordination will lower overall healthcare costs while allowing for more healthy outcomes both for the growing number of individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their family caregivers.

"AFA looks forward to working with Congress, the Administration, and Alzheimer's disease stakeholders to ensure that a meaningful increase in Alzheimer's disease funding becomes a reality in FY15 and moves us closer to attaining the ambitious, yet critical, care- and research-related goals of the national Alzheimer's plan.

"It is our hope that the policymakers will give thoughtful consideration to our recommendations, which will help advance promising research while strengthening the safety net for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their direct and family caregivers."

Other AFA recommendations to Congress included expanding the Medicare home health benefit to all with Alzheimer's disease and related dementia, adoption of care coordination models that lead to better health outcomes at lower costs and increased dementia training for direct and family caregivers.

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