Menendez Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Improve Assessment, Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s

Menendez Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill to Improve Assessment, Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), whose mother lost her battle with Alzheimer’s, today joined a group of bicameral legislators to introduce the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End (CHANGE) Act, a bipartisan bill to encourage early assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. With as many as 16 million Americans expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 2050, the legislation seeks to relieve the burden on caregivers and accelerate progress to disease modifying treatments.

“My mother Evangelina battled Alzheimer’s for seven years before she passed away, so I have seen firsthand the toll it takes on families who have a sick loved one who requires long-term care,” said Sen. Menendez. “This legislation will give families peace of mind that caregivers can receive proper training, while also providing the necessary funds for extensive research and treatment. No family deserves to go through the pain of watching their mother or father falter due to this horrible disease, but having properly trained caregivers can make that daunting task just a little less overwhelming.”

“Alzheimer’s is a burdensome and relentless disease for American families. The path to relieving that burden requires a highly-targeted approach to improve diagnosis rates, clinical research participation, and physician care practices. The CHANGE Act addresses this multi-faceted dynamic by tackling Alzheimer’s on all fronts, an approach which is essential to moving us closer to getting innovative treatments to more families affected by the disease,” said George Vradenburg, co-founder and chairman of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is grateful to Senators Capito, Wicker, Stabenow and Menendez, and Representatives Roskam and Sanchez for their steadfast leadership on this issue. We’re honored to have played a key role in the CHANGE Act and urge all members to sign on as cosponsors.”

In Congress, Sen. Menendez has been a leading champion for the 160,000 individuals living with Alzheimer’s in New Jersey.

Sen. Menendez supported the Obama Administration’s National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease, which was called for as part of the National Alzheimer's Project Act, which the Senator co-sponsored. Sen. Menendez is also a cosponsor of the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act of 2015, which would provide coverage for comprehensive care planning for Alzheimer's disease and dementia for Medicare patients who have been newly diagnosed.

In 2009, Sen. Menendez applauded President Obama when he reversed a Bush-era ban on embryonic stem cell research, which scientists say has the potential to bring about advancements in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Menendez is also the recipient of the Alzheimer's Association's Humanitarian Award in recognition of his ongoing work to improve federal response to Alzheimer's disease. In July 2015, the Senator received recognition at an event at Bergen Community College for his efforts to pass legislation to assist those with Alzheimer’s.

Joining Sen. Menendez in introducing the bill are Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). U.S. Representatives Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) and Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) also introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Among the top 10 causes of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s is the only disease 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.
  • Creates a coverage and payment model that offers family caregivers evidence-based training and certification specific to dementia care.
  • Tests a comprehensive continuum of care through Medicaid that is modeled after the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

More information on the bill is available here.

Legislative text is available here.