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Bill of the Week: Comprehensive Care for Alzheimer’s Act

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Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Shelley Moore Capito reintroduced a bill Thursday that would re-envision the way Medicare pays for dementia care.

Why it matters: Policymakers have spent a lot of energy discussing how to approve and pay for Alzheimer’s therapeutics over the last couple years, but medicine is only one part of treatment for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

The details: The bill directs the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to create a voluntary payment model that reimburses providers for comprehensive dementia care management services, including continuous patient monitoring, developing a care plan and psychosocial interventions.

  • Reimbursement would also be available for caregiver support and education.

What they’re saying: “We need enhancements of care for those who are not eligible for the new drugs, as you can imagine, but we also need enhancements for care for people who are on these drugs, because dementia’s not a medical model,” said Gary Epstein-Lubow, an associate professor at Brown University and co-author of a recent paper on improving comprehensive dementia care.

What we’re watching: Will CMMI act on its own, without congressional action? CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure has said improving care for people with chronic conditions including dementia is a priority, and the agency held a listening session on dementia care in May.

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