Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), left,
and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)

Bipartisan legislation encourages better utilization of the initial Welcome to Medicare exam and Medicare annual wellness visits to screen, detect, and diagnose Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the earliest stages.

The CHANGE Act, also known as the Concentrating on High-Value Alzheimer’s Needs to Get to an End Act, also would establish payment measures to incentivize the detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or related dementias as well as discussion of appropriate care planning services, including the potential for clinical trial participation.

Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), along with Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), recently reintroduced the bill in the Senate. Reps. Linda T. Sánchez (D-CA) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) introduced companion legislation in the House.

It’s estimated that 6.2 million Americans aged 65 or more years are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is projected to hit 12.7 million by 2050 if medical breakthroughs do not occur to help prevent, slow or cure the disease.

In addition to case numbers, direct financial costs of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are predicted to increase exponentially, with projections hovering around $1.1 trillion by 2050.