headshots of Sens. Pat Toomey and Debbie Stabenow

Twenty-seven organizations and 64 individuals told Sens. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) that they are “particularly encouraged” by the lawmakers’ recommendation that the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation create and test alternative payment and coordinated care models targeting Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s or other dementias poses unique challenges,” the groups and individuals wrote in a letter last week.

Toomey and Stabenow are chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Health Care Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee.

Among the organizations signing the letter, written on Alzheimer’s Association letterhead, were the LiveWell Institute of assisted living and skilled nursing provider LiveWell, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Geriatrics Association and the Gerontological Society of America.

The groups and individuals also thanked the senators for a November 2019 Senate Finance Health Subcommittee hearing, “Alzheimer’s Awareness: Barriers to Diagnosis, Treatment and Care Coordination” and their October 2020 letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar that, in addition to making the CMMI-related recommendation, offered additional recommendations on how to strengthen care and services for people with dementia and foster innovation in dementia research. Among them, Toomey and Stabenow recommended that HHS establish a centralized, Alzheimer’s disease-specific portal for patient and caregiver resources that among other things would include descriptions of the types of long-term care facilities and care options available to people with Alzheimer’s disease, and that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services encourage Medicare Advantage plans to use their health reimbursement arrangements to assess cognitive function and the potential long-term care needs of older adults.

“We look forward to working with you in a bipartisan manner to address these important issues,” the letter-writers said.