Advocate 2017-09-21T09:56:19+00:00
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Purposeful Aging Survey

Purposeful Aging Los Angeles

Purposeful Aging Los Angeles (PALA) seeks to prepare the Los Angeles region for a rapidly aging population through an innovative, sustained initiative that unites public and private leadership and strategies. PALA will improve the lives of older adults and Angelenos of all ages. Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles is proud to be a partner in the Purposeful Aging Los Angeles initiative and a member of the Purposeful Aging Taskforce.

Join us and help change the future of aging in the Los Angeles region by taking the PALA survey! It is critical that the voices of Alzheimer’s families are heard. Your input will be used to develop an Age-Friendly Plan for our region. By completing this survey, you will help ensure that the plan addresses our families’ needs. The confidential PALA Survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and can be filled out by anyone 18 years of age or older who resides in the County or City of Los Angeles.

Take the survey

Ongoing Advocacy Efforts at Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles

FEDERAL ACTION

Funding Alzheimer’s Research

The FY 2017 Omnibus spending bill, signed into law on May 5, 2017, secured $34.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), of which $1.4 billion is dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease research. The $1.4 billion is the result of an additional $400 million to FY 2016 funding levels, a 40% boost.

While the President’s proposed FY 2018 budget cuts $6 billion in funding for NIH, the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill proposed an additional $400 million in funding for Alzheimer’s research.   The Senate proposal includes a $414 million increase for Alzheimer’s research. If this funding increase were to pass, it would bring NIH funding dedicated to Alzheimer’s research up to $1.8 billion.

Congress recently passed a continuing resolution which funds the federal government until December 8th.  Congress must either pass a FY 2018 budget prior to that deadline or pass another continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown.  If Congress does not pass a FY 2018 budget, the proposed increases in Alzheimer’s research funding will not happen.

As the appropriations process proceeds, we will continue to work with Congressional leaders to secure robust funding for Alzheimer’s research and federal programs that improve and expand access to care.

Read our full appropriations priorities here

Protecting the Affordable Care Act

On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) with several amendments which would undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The AHCA will harm Californians by:

  • Slashing Medicaid funding, forcing California to cut services, restrict eligibility and reduce benefits.
  • Putting access to long-term services and supports at jeopardy.
  • Charge older Californians more.
  • Eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

On July 25, 2017 the Senate began debating the American Health Care Act. During the 20 hours of debate, the Senate considered several amendments including a revised version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act and the Obamacare Repeal and Reconciliation Act—all which failed to pass. Early on Friday morning, the Senate defeated the Health Care Freedom Act which sought to undermine the ACA by repealing the individual mandate, with a vote of 49-51.

Senators Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy introduced their proposal on September 13, 2017, which would repeal the ACA and terminate Medicaid expansion, and impose per capita caps and block grants. Like the AHCA, the Graham-Cassidy proposal would undermine Medi-Cal and put people living with Alzheimer’s and their families at risk. Congress has until September 30th to pass this legislation. To learn more about this proposal read Health Access’ one pager, and for more information on how it will impact older adults, read Justice in Aging’s blog post.

The Affordable Care Act has implemented important benefits for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Some of those benefits include:

  • Free annual Medicare wellness visit that includes a cognitive assessment
  • Expanding coverage of Medicare prescription drugs to eliminate the “donut hole
  • Health insurance companies cannot refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions, which protects people with early-onset dementia from discrimination.

In addition, ACA funding has supported work here at Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles such as our award winning Dementia Cal MediConnect project. Thanks to this funding, our staff has trained case managers at health plans in the greater Los Angeles area to better serve people with dementia and their caregivers.

We are continuing to watch and engage on any efforts to reform our health care system.

But we will only be successful in our advocacy efforts if you speak up. We need YOU to tell the new President and Congress to support the programs our families rely upon every day and to fund the Alzheimer’s research that our scientists need to find a cure. So keep your eye out for our AlZGLA advocacy emails and then pick up the phone, send an email, or make a visit to your Member of Congress to tell them we are relying on them to lift our families up, not pull the rug out from under their feet.

For more information about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, please read the Leaders Engaged on Alzheimer’s Coalition issue brief here.

Additional Resources

Find upcoming advocacy opportunities near you: http://fightandresist.org/events/

Justice in Aging, How Older Americans Will Suffer Under Senate Republicans’ Proposal to Cap Medicaid Funding

The National Alzheimer’s Summit

Join us in Washington D.C., October 3-5, 2017 for UsAgainstAlzheimer’s National Alzheimer’s Summit: Uniting Communities for a cure. Leaders and advocates from diverse communities impacted by the disease will work together to develop a clear agenda for action with a focus on early prevention, caregiving programs and patient voices. The summit includes the 2nd Annual Diversifying the Race for a Cure & Care Symposium, the 4th Annual Out of the Shadows Dinner and a Capitol Hill Day.

For more information, contact Barbra McLendon at bmclendon@alzgla.org.

STATE ACTION

On June 27, 2017 California Governor Brown signed the state’s 2017-2018 budget, which anticipated $127.5 billion in General Fund resources, and $125.1 billion in expenditures.

Coordinated Care Initiative Eliminated

Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles has been a key participant in the state’s Coordinated Care Initiative which has sought to better serve people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid.

When the CCI program was created, the legislature included a requirement that the program be shut down if it could not achieve the required cost savings.  Because the program did not achieve these cost savings, the program was automatically ended in the 2017- 2018 California state budget.

Despite the formal elimination of the CCI program, the work being done here in Los Angeles under the Cal MediConnect program will continue largely unchanged at least through December 31, 2019 when federal authority for the program would need to be renewed.

As a result, Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles will continue working closely with the five health plans participating in the Cal MediConnect program in their efforts to build a more dementia capable service delivery system by encouraging plans to:

  • Adopt proven screening tools to better identify people with dementia
  • Establish a protocol to identify family/friend caregivers
  • Document family/friend caregiver in the patient’s medical record
  • Assess family/friend caregiver needs
  • Provide respite benefits
  • Provide dementia-specific professional training programs and technical assistance to health plans
  • Adopt ALZ Direct Connect referral program to connect members to:
    • Support groups
    • Caregiver education
    • Early stage services
    • Care counseling
    • Medic Alert Wanderers I.D. program

The State Supplemental Payment (SSP) for SSI Recipients

The budget provides nothing new for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, for whom grant levels remain at just 90% of the federal poverty level, as a result of recession-era cuts that have never been restored.

Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles will be monitoring all of these issues and keep you informed of any proposals that would negatively impact people with dementia and their families.

Additional Resources

SCAN Foundation, Summary of the Enacted 2017-18 Budget: Impact on California’s Older Adults and People with Disabilities

LOCAL ACTION

Dementia Capable Communities

We are in the early stages of launching a Dementia Friendly America pilot project in the Los Angeles area to help our area communities better accommodate the needs of those dealing with Alzheimer’s disease.  For more information, we encourage you to visit the very informative web site www.dfamerica.org.  And keep your eyes open – we plan to have more information to share about this evolving project!

Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles invites you to become part of the change today as an Alzheimer’s advocate.

At the local, state and federal levels we advocate for the legislative, policy and regulatory changes that improve the quality of care & quality of life for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families through:

  • Improving dementia care and services
  • Increasing access to community-based care
  • Expanding funding for medical research and public programs serving people with dementia and their caregivers
  • Supporting the development of dementia-friendly communities

Now is the time to join us in persuading our policymakers to take direct action on these crucial matters.

What is an advocate?

An advocate educates and engages elected officials on key issues.  Our advocates are just like you – people who care about this cause, who want their elected officials to do more to address the impact of Alzheimer’s disease, and who are ready to make a difference.

If you are interested in getting involved, there are a number of ways you can help depending on the time you have available and the kinds of activities that are of interest to you.

For more information, contact Barbra McLendon at 323.930.6290 or bmclendon@alzgla.org