The state of Washington should review Medicaid rates for specialized dementia care in assisted living communities, recommends the state’s Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. Sept. 26 is the deadline to comment.

About 108,000 people in the state have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and that number is expected to increase to about 275,000 by 2030, according to the plan. The state has 541 licensed assisted living communities, and it is estimated that about 34% of Medicaid beneficiaries living in those communities have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, the authors note.

For residents whose care is paid for through public funds, the state has a Specialized Dementia Care Program contract to guide practices. In the private pay market, however, no standards exist, nor is there a definition of what “memory care” or “specialized dementia care” units are or must provide, according to the plan. The number of such specialized units in assisted living communities across the state is not known. 

The state has training requirements for those who work in assisted living and provide personal care services to older adults.

The plan, authorized through 2014 legislation, was drafted by an Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group with input from thousands of people, according to the group. It identifies core goals, strategies and recommendations designed to promote healthy aging and brain health, improve the quality of life for those living with disease, ease the strain on family caregivers and reduce associated costs in the future.