HCN News & Notes

Baker Signs Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Legislation

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker recently signed H.4116, an Act relative to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Commonwealth, a first-of-its-kind bill that unanimously passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this year.

More than 130,000 people are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease in Massachusetts — those individuals are being cared for by more than 337,000 family and friends. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2018 Massachusetts will spend more than $1.6 billion in Medicaid costs caring for people with Alzheimer’s.

The governor signed the legislation shortly after approving $100,000 for public awareness about the disease in the most recent FY19 budget.

“Alzheimer’s is the single largest unaddressed public health threat in the 21st century and we remain on the front lines of this crisis every day here in the Commonwealth,” said Daniel Zotos, director of Public Policy & Advocacy of the Alzheimer’s Association, Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. “This legislation follows in the tradition of Massachusetts being a national leader in health care and we commend the Governor and Legislature for ensuring everyone impacted by Alzheimer’s gets the quality care and support they deserve.”

There are five major areas of focus within H.4116:

  • Establishing a comprehensive state plan to address Alzheimer’s disease within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, while also establishing a permanent advisory council to help coordinate government efforts and ensure that public and private resources are maximized and leveraged;
  • Requiring curriculum content about Alzheimer’s and other dementias be incorporated into continuing medical education programs that are required for granting the renewal of licensure for physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, and licensed nurse practitioners;
  • Ensuring proper notification of an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis to the family or legal guardian and providing information on available resources to both the patient and family;
  • Improving cost effectiveness and patient and caregiver experience in acute care settings by requiring all state hospitals to implement an operational plan for the recognition and management of patients with dementia or delirium accountable to the Department of Public Health. This is consistent with the recommendations outlined in the Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Acute Care Advisory Committee convened by the Department of Public Health; and
  • Establishing minimum training standards for elder protective services social workers, to ensure protection from abuse and exploitation for elders with Alzheimer’s and dementia.


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