HHS Releases the 2013 Update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease

Published Thursday, June 27, 2013

In June, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the official 2013 update to the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. This marks the first significant update to the plan, which was released in May 2012 and establishes five goals to prevent future cases of Alzheimer's disease and to better meet the needs of the millions of American families currently facing this disease: prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025, optimize care quality and efficiency, expand supports for people with Alzheimer's disease and their families, enhance public awareness and engagement, and track progress and drive improvement.

The National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2013 Update (http://aspe.hhs.gov/daltcp/napa/#Plan) outlines a series of milestones to measure whether the nation is on track to achieve the plan's mission to effectively prevent or treat Alzheimer's disease by 2025. The Update also draws attention to a recent study by RAND that found that the costs associated with Alzheimer's exceed those related to heart disease and cancer, and are projected to cost the U.S. $1 trillion annually by 2050.

The 2013 Update outlines the following highlights over the past year:

  • The National Institutes of Health brought together international experts for the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2012: Path to Treatment and Prevention, which developed important recommendations on how best to advance research.
  • Multiple new Alzheimer’s research projects were funded in 2012, including two major new clinical trials, genetics sequencing, and development of innovative new cellular models for Alzheimer’s.
  • The Health Resources and Services Administration issued grants that helped provide training to more than 10,000 health care providers on topics from dementia diagnosis to effective behavior management for people with dementia and their caregivers.
  • HHS launched the website www.alzheimers.gov to increase public awareness and connect people with a diagnosis and their caregivers with important resources.

The update plan also identifies additional action steps that HHS and its partners will take, including:

  • A unified Alzheimer’s disease training curriculum for primary care providers will be developed to help deliver high-quality dementia care. Researchers will investigate avoidable hospitalization and emergency department use among those with Alzheimer’s disease and the best interventions for reducing them.
  • Detection of elder abuse and neglect will be expanded through aging networks and program providers who work with the Alzheimer’s population. Demonstration grants will be awarded to help promote legal services groups that assist families and communities impacted by Alzheimer’s.
  • An expanded Dementia Capability Toolkit will be developed for state and local health networks to better help them provide dementia services in their communities.