Senator Collins Introduces Legislation to Create Health Infrastructure to Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

More than five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to triple to as many as 16 million in 2050

Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins introduced the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. This bipartisan legislation, cosponsored by Senators Cortez Masto (D-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) would create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and preserve brain health. Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY) and Paul Tonko (D-NY) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“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. “After decades of expanding biomedical research in Alzheimer’s, we are ready for the next step: to translate research into practice.  I urge my colleagues to join us as cosponsors of this critical bipartisan legislation.”

 

“Across the state of Maine, Alzheimer’s disease is robbing us of our families, finances and our future. The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act will improve quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, and reduce the financial impact on the economy of Maine,” said Laurie Trenholm Executive Director, Alzheimer's Association, Maine Chapter. “We appreciate Senator Collins’ leadership in introducing this important legislation.”

 

This legislation would apply a public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease by establishing a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Headed by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would create:

 

  1. Centers of Excellence in Public Health Practice 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. This bill would authorize $12 million for centers across the nation.
  2. Core Capacity and Enhanced Activity Cooperative Agreements with the CDC would be awarded to State Health Departments to carry out key steps. Core capacity awards would help states build a foundation and enhanced activity awards would help those states that are carrying out public health Alzheimer’s steps to amplify their initiatives through public-private partnerships. $20 million would be authorized for this process.
  3. Data Analysis and Reporting Cooperative Agreements with CDC would ensure that data on Alzheimer’s, cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities are analyzed and disseminated to the public in a timely manner. This legislation authorizes $5 million for such agreements.

 

In 2011, Senator Collins introduced the National Alzheimer’s Project Act with then-Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). That law convened a panel of experts, who determined that $2 billion per year in research funding is needed to achieve our goal of preventing and treating Alzheimer’s by the year 2025. The $1.8 billion provided by the legislation the committee passed today brings us closer to the $2 billion goal.

 

Earlier this year, Senator Collins, Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee, held a hearing titled, “The Arc of Alzheimer’s: From Preventing Cognitive Decline in Americans to Assuring Quality Care for those Living with the Disease.” This hearing highlighted that a public health approach to Alzheimer’s is possible.

 

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and the National Association of Counties.  Click HERE and HERE to read their letters of support.

 

For a one-pager on the bill, click HERE.

 

To read the full text of the bill click HERE.