Boston, MA – In a unanimous decision, the MA Senate has elected to pass a bill to help the state better care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease. The bill will allocate funds to improve #Alzheimers diagnosis and treatment in the Bay State, while also focusing on more comprehensive distribution of information to both patients and those close to them.
The legislation, also known as “An Act relative to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Commonwealth,” will additionally aim to assist patients in accessing a variety of treatments that will improve their quality of life. The majority of changes this bill would bring are related to improved communication about Alzheimer’s as well as more systematic training on the disease and the implementation of its various treatments.
For example, the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services would now be tasked with the management and evaluation of any MA program which attends to Alzheimer’s disease, and all adult-treating medical professionals would be required to undergo a comprehensive training course on the ailment. Under the bill, all doctors would also be required not only to inform a family member/personal representative of a patient’s preliminary Alzheimer’s diagnosis, but also to supply them with information about the diagnosis, plans for care, and ways to explore various kinds of treatments.
Furthermore, all hospitals would need a concrete plan for recognizing and treating patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and medical case workers would undergo training on Alzheimer’s recognition. The bill also proposes the implementation of an advisory council regarding the research and treatment of the disease.
Daniel Zotos, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association said of the bill:
“This legislation follows in the tradition of Massachusetts being a national leader in health care and we commend the Legislature for ensuring everyone impacted by Alzheimer’s gets the quality care and support they deserve.”
Other proponents of Alzheimer’s research and care have stated that over 130,000 people in Massachusetts currently have the disease. This number is expected to increase to 150,000 by 2025.
The bill will now return to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for ratification.