HHS Releases 2013 Update To The National Alzheimer's Plan
On Saturday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update. The first-ever National Alzheimer's Plan, initially released in May 2012, was mandated by the bipartisan National Alzheimer's Project Act (P.L. 111-375), which Congress passed unanimously in 2010. The 2013 Update includes a new timeline for achieving its first goal – prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025 – and a review of progress over the past year.
"The Alzheimer's Association commends HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for her ongoing work to ensure a strong implementation of the National Alzheimer's Plan and the inclusion of a timeline to reach the Plan's goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's disease by 2025," said Harry Johns, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association and member of the Advisory Council to the Plan. "So that this plan called for by Congress can be translated into results, Congress now must continue its leadership by supporting the additional $100 million included in the President's fiscal year 2014 budget for the fight against Alzheimer's."
In addition to the creation of a timeline, the 2013 Update includes new provisions such as:
-Creation of important milestones to facilitate achieving the goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer's by 2025;
-Development of a curriculum on Alzheimer's disease for primary care practitioners so that providers have the necessary skills to provide high-quality dementia care;
-Convening an expert panel on advanced dementia to examine the unique and often unaddressed needs of those in the late stages of the disease; and
-Expanding public outreach efforts to increase awareness of the disease and connect those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers to available resources.
A review of accomplishments over the past year as outlined in the 2013 Update includes work by the Alzheimer's Association to launch the International Alzheimer's Disease Research Portfolio (IADRP) database in partnership with the National Institute on Aging (NIA). Consistent with the National Alzheimer's Plan objective of fostering international collaboration, the Alzheimer's Association and the NIA also co-hosted a funders meeting in July 2012 at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) and have convened representatives of several funding organizations around the world for regular teleconferences. This group, which will convene again in Boston next month at AAIC 2013, will continue efforts to better understand the global Alzheimer's research effort and enable research funders to coordinate planning, leverage resources, avoid duplication and identify new opportunities for collaboration.
In addition, also at AAIC 2013 in Boston and highlighted in the 2013 Update, the Alzheimer's Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will release the second in a series of "Road Maps" to advance cognitive health as a vital, integral component of public health.
Today there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and 15.4 million friends and family members providing care, often at the expense of their own health. While the human toll is alarming, the economic costs pose a significant threat to the nation as well. According to the Alzheimer's Association 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures report, caring for people with Alzheimer's, the country's most expensive condition, currently costs the nation $203 billion annually with projections to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050. However, even with this information, for every $27,000 Medicare and Medicaid spend on caring for individuals with Alzheimer's, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spends only $100 on Alzheimer's research. The President's budget takes the next step in recognizing the correlation – investments in Alzheimer's research today will result not just in better lives for millions, but a much sounder financial future for our nation as well.
"Congress must see to it that the necessary resources are committed to accelerate and prioritize the government's efforts on Alzheimer's," said Johns. "Without these new resources, efforts in Alzheimer's research, care and support will continue to be hampered to the determent of millions of families and the economic well-being of the nation."