More Details on the Alzheimer's Study Group's Proposed Initiatives

Dorian Martin Health Guide
  •   In my last sharepost, I shared the Alzheimer’s Study Group’s recommendations which were released recently. Thee report provided a lot more information on the three recommendations than I was able to cover in that sharepost, so I wanted to share a little more detail on the three proposed initiatives.

                    The Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative is focused on “developing the capability to delay and, ultimately, prevent Alzheimer’s disease." This initiative is designed to clarify and accelerate the development pathway for preventative and risk-reducing therapies. The three top recommendations for this initiative put forward by the study group are:

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    o    An advancement of developmental science, as well as the improvement of disease models and qualification of biomarkers for clinical research. The study group called for acceleration of pharmacological and behavioral interventions in order to be able to prevent Alzheimer’s as soon as possible.

    o   The recruitment of larger numbers of volunteers for clinical trials and population-based longitudinal studies in order to speed development of preventive treatments.

    o   Creation of an Alzheimer’s disease rapid-learning network to link all major research databases and researchers. Advanced analytical tools would help researchers use this database to support their own research and to mine data.

    The Alzheimer’s Care Improvement Initiative focuses on reforming Medicare Fee-for-Service by developing a reimbursement system that “rewards value, not volume.” The Study Group recommended that “care providers – much like all providers of goods and services in the marketplace – should be rewarded for providing what is most valuable to dementia patients for better health and a higher quality of life.” Priority recommendations are:

    -          Implement an electronic health records system that can be used to track the delivery of care and lower the cost of care coordination.

    -          Develop quality care measures based on what people who have Alzheimer’s and caregivers value most. The Study Group believed that this information can be used to begin to test value-based payments for dementia care using a small number of indicators in pilot programs.  These value-based payments can then be expanded based on pilot program results.

    -          Encourage coordinated care which includes training and supporting family caregivers.

    The third initiative suggested by the Study Group involved creating an Alzheimer’s Public-Private Partnership. The Study Group noted that currently the Federal Government does not have a comprehensive strategy on Alzheimer’s. The Public-Private Partnerships will create a system-wide approach that includes planning and implementation both inside the Federal Government as well as key external stakeholders. Priority recommendations include:

    -          Create an Alzheimer’s Solutions Project Office within the Executive Branch which is led by a Chief Executive Officer and which creates a detailed Alzheimer’s Solutions Project Implementation Plan.

  • -          Create an Alzheimer’s Solutions Project Investment Fund through annual appropriations based on a multiyear investment budget. Funding levels would be reviewed annually to determine progress and changing conditions. The Study Group recommended the scale of Federal investment to “be based on the savings that overcoming Alzheimer’s would yield to the Federal government over the coming generation, implying a scale of annual investment many times greater than current levels.

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    -          Foster maximum public-private collaboration in order to speed progress.

    Personally, I think that these recommendations make a whole lot of sense. We need a coordinated effort involving the Federal government and private entities (as well as an overall vision of what that effort should look like). We also need an increased focus on research to develop ways to stop Alzheimer’s, while also creating support structures for those who currently have Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Hopefully, policymakers will realize the great thought that went into creating this report and begin implementing these recommendations as soon as possible

Published On: April 13, 2009