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Public Policy Town Halls & Seminars 2014

Throughout August 2014, across Washington State and Northern Idaho, the Alzheimer’s Association will hold Town Hall meetings and Seminars to highlight—and solicit feedback on—public policy priorities, including the National Alzheimer’s Plan, Alzheimer’s Disease Plan for Washington State, and Voices for Better Health.

Our objectives for the town halls are to educate, solicit input, and provide an opportunity for you to interact with elected leaders. All public input will be recorded and used to inform the Association’s work in advancing our public policy priorities to better meet the needs of individuals, families, and communities.

Community members, including those living with Alzheimer’s, their caregivers, representatives from federal, state and local government as well as the research, health and long-term care communities are invited to come and share their thoughts.

Town Halls will be held in:

On March 27, 2014, Governor Jay Inslee signed Substitute Senate Bill 6124, providing legislative authorization to begin the important work of developing an Alzheimer’s Disease Plan for Washington State.

ImageAlzheimer’s disease is a public health epidemic, and a State Alzheimer’s Disease Plan is a critical step in preparing Washington State to meet the needs of the thousands of Washingtonians who are and will be affected by this progressive, fatal disease. Forty-four states have enacted or are in the process of developing Alzheimer’s state plans and now Washington will soon be among them.

The goals of a State Alzheimer’s Disease Plan will be to:

  • leverage our state’s rich history of commitment and innovation in health and senior care to address the full range of Alzheimer’s issues.

  • explore the current and anticipated impact of Alzheimer’s disease in Washington State.

  • outline the steps the state must take to sustain and improve its services and supports for people living with Alzheimer’s and their families and mitigate the catastrophic emotional and economic impact of what has become nothing less than a public health epidemic.

  • prepare the State to address critical needs including improving the quality of the health care system, increasing awareness among the public, and equipping unpaid caregivers, health care professionals and others to deal with individuals with Alzheimer’s at all stages of the disease

  • ensure availability and access to services and supports for diagnosis, detection, treatment, and affordable options for long-term care.

  • create the infrastructure and accountability to manage and measure the State’s response to the Alzheimer’s epidemic.

Under the auspices of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), a diverse group of stakeholders—including persons with dementia; family caregivers; health policy advocates (AARP, Area Agencies on Aging, Developmental Disabilities Council, Elder Care Alliance, State Council on Aging); the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman; professional caregivers (individual providers, representatives of home and managed care facilities); the Alzheimer’s Association; the Alzheimer’s Society of Washington; members of the Legislature, Executive Staff (Governor’s Office), and state agencies (DSHS, ALTSA, HCA, DOH); representatives of the elder law, medical (geriatrics, psychology), and research communities, and the Veterans Administration—has been selected for a working group to develop the plan.

The first of a series of public meetings of the working group has been scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on September 4, 2014 at the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration Office in Lacey. Details about this and future meetings may be found at: http://www.altsa.dshs.wa.gov/stakeholders/ad/

ADVOCATE FOR DUAL ELIGIBLES: Voices for Better Health Washington State
The purpose of this project is to advance care and establish a strong voice for over 126,000 Washingtonians who are dual eligible (“duals”)—individuals who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. Duals—many of whom are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia—tend to be poorer, sicker, and heavily dependent on supportive services. In today’s fragmented health care system, they are forced to navigate a complicated and confusing maze of multiple doctors, medications, and programs.

The Chapters will work to shape Washington’s duals demonstration project by leading a coalition of health advocacy organizations collaborating with state agencies to bring together patients, advocates, delivery systems, and providers to improve the health of the growing number of duals in our state. Learn more about Voices for Better Health by CLICKING HERE.

ImageIMPLEMENT “THE PUBLIC HEALTH ROAD MAP”
The Alzheimer’s Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC) recently released The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018. The Road Map, which the Chapters will introduce to the public health community in Washington State, includes 35 Action Items that state and local public health officials and their partners can take to promote cognitive functioning, address impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, and help meet the needs of caregivers. http://www.alz.org/publichealth/

*Chapters: our public policy work is a collaborative effort of the two chapters of the Alzheimer’s Association that serve the individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias in Washington State: the Inland Northwest Chapter and the Western & Central Washington State Chapter.

For more information on these issues, please contact:
Bob LeRoy, Executive Director | 206.529.3891 | bleroy@alz.org

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