Healthcare professionals who treat Alzheimer’s and dementia adults in Massachusetts now must be trained in Alzheimer’s disease under a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Charlie Baker.
The Mass Alzheimer’s and Dementia Act addresses what the Alzheimer’s Association calls “the most under-recognized threat to public health in the 21st century,” costing the country $277 billion annually in Medicare, Medicaid, care giving and other expenses.
“No other state in the country has something like this,” Daniel C. Zotos, director of public policy and advocacy for the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, said of the law to the Boston Globe.
LeadingAge Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, the state affiliate of the American Health Care Association / National Center for Assisted Living, were two members of a coalition advocating for passage of H. 4116, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Healthcare: What The Alzheimer’s/Dementia Law Says
The new law requires physicians and all nurses who treat adults to undergo one-time training in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. This must be completed before they can obtain or renew their licenses.
Doctors must inform a family member about their diagnosis and them provide them with information about care-planning services.
Additionally, all hospitals in the state must implement plans for recognizing and managing dementia or delirium by Oct. 1, 2021.
In addition, the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services will review all state Alzheimer’s programs.
Healthcare: Future Plans
Governor Baker and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana, last month wrote an opinion piece in Newsweek in support of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. The act would establish Centers of Excellence to promote Alzheimer’s disease management, care giving interventions and public education.
Alzheimer’s is a dreadful disease that impacts millions of people in the United States and is a public threat. More States will likely pass this type of law mandating that healthcare professionals get trained in diagnosing Alzheimer’s patients.