Senate Passes Landmark Legislation to Combat Alzheimer’s

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act, legislation authored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA).  This bipartisan bill would, for the first time, create a public health infrastructure across the country to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health.  The BOLD Act now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration.

 

“Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest and under-recognized public health threats of our time.  Five and a half million Americans 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. “After decades of increasing investments in biomedical research for Alzheimer’s, we are ready for the next step: to translate research into practice.  The BOLD Act takes a multi-pronged public health approach that would create a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias.”

 

“The bipartisan BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will fund and promote early diagnosis, effective intervention, and better treatment options and establish Centers of Excellence to educate the public and professionals on the illness. I’m proud to support this bipartisan effort to support doctors, caregivers and all those working to improve the quality of life and finally find a cure for people suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s and related cognitive disorders,” said Senator Cortez Masto.

 

“To prevent millions of more Americans and their families from being devastated by Alzheimer’s, we have to tackle this disease on all fronts. The BOLD Act helps us do that by empowering our federal and state public health infrastructure to play an expanded role and by helping us gain a better understanding of the true scope of the disease,” Senator Capito said.  “This is a very personal priority for me, and I’m so glad to see it head to the president’s desk. It’s a great step for those living with Alzheimer’s and those who care for and love them.”

 

“Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease affecting nearly 150,000 Virginia families – including mine – and we only expect more families to be touched by it in the years to come,” Senator Kaine said. “Today’s passage of our comprehensive BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act was an encouraging step forward in our work to face this problem head-on. I hope that the House will quickly take it up so we can start providing better support to those impacted by Alzheimer’s.”

 

“On behalf of the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease, we want to thank Senators Collins, Cortez Masto, Capito, and Kaine for their steadfast leadership in the fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer, Robert Egge. “The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is innovative legislation that will allow our nation to address Alzheimer’s as the urgent public health crisis that it is. We appreciate Senator Collins and the more than half of Congress who followed her lead in cosponsoring the bill for recognizing the impact this devastating disease has on our nation, and for taking decisive action to change the trajectory of this disease.”

 

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and the United States spends more than $277 billion per year, including $186 billion in costs to Medicare and Medicaid. Without further action, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple to as many as 14 million by 2050, costing the nation more than $1.1 trillion per year. 

 

This legislation would apply a public health approach to reduce risk, detect early symptoms, advance care, improve data, and ultimately change the trajectory of this devastating disease. Headed by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would authorize $20 million annually over the next five years to establish:

 

  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 centers would implement the CDC’s Healthy Aging Public Health Road Map, and would take key steps to support health and social services professionals as well as families and communities.

 

  1. Cooperative Agreements with the CDC that would be 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.  

 

  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.

 

The BOLD Act was introduced by Senators Collins, Cortez Masto, Capito, and Kaine last year and is cosponsored by a total of 58 Senators and supported by 181 organizations and individuals, including the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, and Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement. 

 

Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, which is cosponsored by 251 members.