Take Time to Share Your Thoughts for the National Alzheimer's Project Act

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  • It’s time to let your voice be heard!

    The Alzheimer’s Association is in the process of collecting feedback from interested Americans so they can provide input into The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA). These feedback sessions are happening around the country during August and September (I just participated in one on Tuesday); you also can provide your feedback on-line.

    First of all, what is NAPA? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, NAPA – which was actually passed with bipartisan congressional support and signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 – will create a national strategic plan to address the Alzheimer’s crisis and also will coordinate Alzheimer’s disease efforts across the government. This plan will include outcome-based objectives, recommendations, implementation steps and – most importantly – accountability as key stakeholders work to fight Alzheimer’s.  This law also requires a national plan on how we’ll overcome Alzheimer’s that will be updated annually and sent to Congress. Additionally, the law requires annual recommendations for priority actions that will improve health outcomes for those with the disease as well as lower costs to families and government programs. The law also will create an annual evaluation of all federally funded efforts for Alzheimer’s research, care and services and will review the outcomes of these efforts.

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    NAPA also created an advisory council, which is designed to coordinate federal agencies that conduct Alzheimer’s related care, services and research. These participants are the Administration on Aging, Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Food and Drug Administration, Indian Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and The Surgeon General. In addition, two non-federal representatives will serve on the council that will represent the following areas: Alzheimer’s caregivers; Alzheimer’s patient advocates; health care providers; researchers with Alzheimer’s experience; state health departments; and voluntary health associations.

    Why is NAPA important? There are several reasons, according to the Alzheimer’s Association:

    • The system has failed too many people who have Alzheimer’s and their families “The government must make a meaningful commitment to overcome Alzheimer’s,” the association states.
    • Alzheimer’s disease, which is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, is also the only cause of death among these top 10 that doesn’t have a prevention, cure or way to slow its progression.
    • “By making Alzheimer’s a national priority, we have the potential to create the same success that has been demonstrate din the fights against other diseases,” the association noted.
    • NAPA will, for the first time, allow Congress to determine through the annual review process whether the nation is making satisfactory progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

    How can you give your feedback?  The Alzheimer’s Association is holding numerous public input sessions across the country. (Check with your regional Alzheimer's Association chapter for the date, time and location). Information from these sessions will be given to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in order to inform this federal agency about the perspectives and views of individuals in the Alzheimer’s community. In addition, key government officials are being invited to participate in these sessions. I’ve participated in two sessions. The first one was by phone and involved interested folks from across the nation and included a HHS official.  The second session I participate in (and actually expressed my views) was held locally and included a staff member who works for my U.S. Congressman. State and local officials also were invited. If you aren’t able to attend one, you can provide your feedback on-line.

  • It’s time to speak up about your views concerning Alzheimer’s disease. Be sure to make your voice heard!

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Published On: August 18, 2011