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Representative Darin LaHood

Representing the 18th District of Illinois

LaHood, Sanchez, Matsui, McMorris Rodgers Introduce Bill to Improve Assessment, Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

April 11, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Linda Sanchez (D-CA), members of the Ways and Means Committee, along with Energy and Commerce Committee members Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), have introduced the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act to encourage early assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. With as many as 16 million Americans expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 2050, the legislation seeks to aide caregivers and accelerate progress to disease modifying treatments. Identical legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Roger Wicker (R-MS.), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).

“Alzheimer’s Disease affects millions of Americans each day and the search for a cure must be relentless, which is why I am proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral bill to build upon existing tools for early detection, support physicians, families, and caregivers, gather data on how to improve federal efforts in Alzheimer’s research, and outline additional ways we provide care and treatment to those battling this disease,” stated Congressman Darin LaHood. “As a strong advocate for the fight to find a cure to Alzheimer’s, I will continue to support legislation that will help end this cruel disease for good.”

“Millions of American families, including my own, know all too well the devastating toll that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias can take. Too often, patients don’t get a timely diagnosis, if they ever get one at all. Family caregivers do their best to provide the support and care their loved ones need, at great personal expense,” said Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez. “I am proud to work with my colleagues to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to promote and streamline early assessment and diagnosis. The CHANGE Act provides critical support to patients and their family caregivers. With millions more Americans, including and particularly people of color, expected to be diagnosed in the coming decades, we can’t afford to wait.”

“Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease and millions are or will suffer from this heartbreaking illness,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui. “We need to do more to encourage early diagnosis while helping to relieve the burden placed on caregivers and family members. This bipartisan, bicameral bill is a critical first step to providing people with Alzheimer’s the care and treatment they need and deserve.”

“Alzheimer’s impacts families all throughout Eastern Washington. This heartbreaking disease not only presents a health crisis in America, but also an economic one. Almost everyone knows someone with or caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s,” Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said. “They need our support, more research for early detection and diagnosis, and better resources for care. The CHANGE Act will help by encouraging early assessment and diagnoses and accelerating development of life-changing treatments. One day we will find a cure, but until then, it’s critical that we move forward with legislation like this to help patients by improving diagnosis and treatments.”

“I thank this bipartisan group of legislators for their commitment and leadership to accelerating a cure for Alzheimer’s and providing relief to the 5.8 million Americans currently battling this terrible disease and their families, caregivers, and friends,” said George Vradenburg, chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “We look forward to working with these legislators and their colleagues to advance the CHANGE Act through Congress and into law.”

“We have always supported the work of developing a pharmacological cure, and will continue to do so, but drug development has proven to be more complicated than we could have ever predicted,” added Vradenburg. “We must also focus on additional pathways for detection, assessment, and diagnosis, including leveraging the latest science around delaying and possibly even preventing Alzheimer’s through various risk-modifying behaviors. As this process proceeds, we must pursue policies to promote early detection, assessment, diagnosis, and risk reduction. The critically important CHANGE Act will equip and incentivize providers to do just this.”

Alzheimer’s is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death in the United States without an effective means of prevention, treatment, or cure. The CHANGE Act supports, incentivizes, and authorizes high-value Alzheimer’s patient care, caregiver support, and research initiatives to improve prevention and treatment and move toward a cure for the disease.

Specifically, the CHANGE Act:

  • Requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to identify a uniform, reliable cognitive impairment detection tool or set of tools that will incentivize clinicians to detect, refer, and diagnose Alzheimer’s and related dementias in their earliest stages.
  • Establishes payment measures to incentivize the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or related dementias and discussion of appropriate care planning services, including potential for clinical trial participation.

Legislative text is available here.