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Menendez, Capito, Stabenow, Wicker reintroduce bill to improve early assessment, diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) reintroduced the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act, bipartisan legislation to encourage early assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.

Companion legislation was also introduced by U.S. Representatives Linda T. Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) in the House of Representatives.

“As someone who has witnessed and cared for a loved one live with Alzheimer’s, I understand how much the CHANGE Act and early diagnosis can impact the trajectory of this devastating disease,” Menendez said. “This legislation would not only allow for earlier screenings and diagnosis, but it would also afford patients and families the time to plan care and treatments early. By increasing early detection and intervention, patients, families and caregivers will be in a better position to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.”

“Now more than ever, as new treatments are being approved and there is new hope on the horizon for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families, action at the disease’s earliest stages is needed,” Capito said. “By prioritizing early assessment and diagnosis, the CHANGE Act will allow patients to play a more active role in their treatment and care planning.”

“Alzheimer’s is a heartbreaking disease that affects the whole family,” Stabenow said. “Our bill helps encourage early diagnosis, relieves the burden on caregivers, and improves care for patients. We have strong partners in the fight against Alzheimer’s in the House and Senate, and I will continue working across the aisle to move this bill forward.”

“Many Americans have felt the crippling impact and high cost of Alzheimer’s disease,” Wicker said. “For the sake of those who will be diagnosed, we must do everything possible to find a cure. The CHANGE Act would move us in the right direction by improving access to early assessment and diagnosis, helping patients receive care earlier when it can make a bigger difference in their lives.”

This year alone, approximately 6.7 million Americans age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. That number could grow to a projected 13.8 million by 2060. The direct financial costs of Alzheimer’s and related dementias will also continue to increase exponentially, with projections indicating they will reach $1 trillion by 2050.

The CHANGE Act would better utilize the existing Welcome to Medicare initial exam and Medicare annual wellness visits to screen, detect, and diagnose Alzheimer’s and related dementias in their earliest stages.

Now, as new treatments emerge and are ultimately approved, it is critical to ensure screening and diagnosis are taking place early on. An early documented diagnosis communicated to the patient and caregiver enables early access to care planning services and available medical and non-medical treatments and optimizes patients’ ability to build a care team, participate in support services, and enroll in clinical trials. It also would allow this devastating disease to be caught in its earliest stages, and ensure appropriate access to treatment.

Sen. Menendez has been a strong advocate for Alzheimer’s disease research, treatments and awareness for years. In January, the Senator joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in co-leading the introduction of two bills in the Senate that would cement and build on the important progress that has been made to tackle Alzheimer’s disease. The bills would reauthorize the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and the Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act until 2035.

In 2021, Sen. Menendez joined a bipartisan group of colleagues in urging the Biden Administration to establish an ambitious national goal to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and to develop a plan to achieve this goal.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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