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Collins’ Bipartisan Bill to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease Clears Committee

Click HERE to watch and HERE to download video from the hearing

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee voted 19 to 2 to advance the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act of 2024, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Susan Collins, Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA). The bill would reauthorize funding for public health initiatives across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health. These initiatives began when the original BOLD Act, authored by this same bipartisan group of four senators, was signed into law in 2018. The bill now awaits consideration by the full Senate.

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest and most under-recognized public health threats of our time. Millions of Americans and thousands of Mainers are living with the disease, and that number is soaring as our overall population grows older and lives longer,” said Senator Collins, a founder and Senate co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease. “Reauthorization of the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will ensure communities across the country have access to resources to promote effective Alzheimer’s interventions and better cognitive health that can lead to improved health outcomes.”

“The bipartisan BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Reauthorization Act will ensure public health departments continue to implement effective Alzheimer’s interventions in communities like ours throughout the nation,” said Drew Wyman, executive director, Alzheimer's Association Maine Chapter. “Thank you, Sen. Collins, for your leadership on this critical legislation and for your longstanding commitment to strengthening the dementia public health infrastructure in Maine and throughout the nation.”

“Thanks to the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act, public health departments have been taking action to implement strategies that improve brain health,” said Robert Egge, AIM president and Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer. “We are encouraged by today’s committee action to advance the bipartisan BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Reauthorization Act, and we appreciate Sen. Susan Collins for her steadfast leadership on this critical legislation and for her continued commitment to enhancing the dementia public health infrastructure.”

“Nearly seven million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a public health crisis affects millions more loved ones and family caregivers. That’s why we are so grateful for the leadership of Senator Susan Collins and others on this committee who share our commitment to fighting this deadly disease,” said George Vradenburg, chair and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “By reauthorizing the BOLD Act, we are investing in resources that help state, local, and tribal health departments raise public awareness of Alzheimer’s and related dementias, help people reduce their risk, and increase the rate of early detection and diagnosis of the disease so people and their doctors can take the appropriate next steps for their brain health.” 

The BOLD Act reauthorization would authorize $33 million per year, in line with current appropriations, over the next five years to support:

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions, as well as educating the public on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline, and brain health. The three current Centers have established themselves as national resources and are supporting nationwide implementation of the actions outlined in the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative's Road Map. Each center is focused on a key issue related to dementia - from risk reduction to early detection to caregiving.
  1. Public Health Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that are awarded to State Health Departments to help them meet local needs in promoting brain health, reducing risk of cognitive decline, improving care for those with Alzheimer’s, and other key public health activities. More than 40 Public Health Departments, including Maine, across the United States are now promoting a strong public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias with the support of BOLD awards.
  1. Data Grants to improve the analysis and timely reporting of data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities at the state and national levels.

Approximately 6.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the United States spends more than $360 billion per year, including $231 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Barring any major breakthroughs to prevent, slow down, or cure Alzheimer’s, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to double by 2060, costing the nation more than $1.1 trillion per year.

With Senator Collins’ support, funding for the BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act has grown from $10 million in fiscal year 2020 to $33 million in fiscal year 2023. In September 2020, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services received one of the first BOLD Program Awards. This investment has allowed for great progress in implementing the Maine State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias. In September 2023, Maine received a second BOLD award from the CDC for Alzheimer’s prevention programs, which provides implementation funding to build on its initial investments and allow the state to carry out the Maine Alzheimer’s Prevention Program and the CDC’s Healthy Brain Initiative Road Map.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act of 2024 is endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.