Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah), Chair of the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, released the task force’s final report.
A summary of the work of the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia, including a description of the public hearings held by the Task Force, legislation introduced by the Task Force, and recommendations for future legislative action.
Advocacy update: Three dementia-related bills now law
Assembly Bill 786 requires DHS to design a pilot program for two or more counties to create dementia crisis units.
Assembly Bill 787 provides more respite for family caregivers by increasing the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program funding by $1 million annually.
Assembly Bill 790 requires the DHS to award grants in the amount of $250,000 to counties for mobile crisis teams to obtain training on recognizing and serving individuals with dementia.
Read more local coverage on our In the news page.
"Transparency" bills aimed at helping patients with dementia
The Alliance is currently working on three bills in the Wisconsin Legislature with more to come. Senate Bill 138 and its companion Assembly Bill 197 would create transparency for insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act. The bills require an insurer that offers plans through an exchange to provide access on the insurer's Internet site to information that will enable consumers to determine all of the following about the insurer's plans: exclusions from coverage and restrictions on use or quantity of covered services or items; any service or item with a cost-sharing requirement that depends on the cost of the service or item; whether a specific prescription drug is covered and any clinical prerequisites or authorization requirements for coverage of a prescription drug; whether specific types of specialists are included, and whether a specific named specialist is included, in the plan's network; the process for appealing a denial of coverage of a service or item; and how the out-of-pocket costs of medications will or will not be applied towards the deductible under the plan. On June 4th, 2015 Senate Bill 138 was passed out of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and is currently available for scheduling for a full vote of the State Senate. Assembly Bill 197 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Insurance however a hearing has not yet been scheduled for the bill.
*Action Item: Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support SB 138 and AB 197.
Don’t know your legislators phone number, e-mail or office address?Just follow the link below, type in your address and your legislators and their contact information will appear!
ADAW has been working with Representative Mike Rohrkaste (R-Neenah) on an informed consent bill that would require assisted living facilities to inform patients or their guardians about antipsychotic or psychotropic medications with black box warnings for dementia before administering medications of that type. In April 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified healthcare professionals that patients with dementia-related psychosis treated with atypical antipsychotic drugs are at an increased risk of death. Since issuing that notification, FDA has reviewed additional information that indicates the risk is also associated with conventional antipsychotics.Some of you may recall that we passed similar legislation applying to nursing homes in 2010 after receiving several reports of deaths caused by these medications. Since passage of that bill Wisconsin has gone from being one of the highest prescribing states in nursing homes to one of the lowest. Unfortunately ADAW's Public Policy Director Rob Gundermann is now getting reports of deaths in community based residential facilities, most recently in northern Wisconsin, which has led us to pursue this legislation. As soon as the bill is introduced and given a number we will be asking people to contact their legislators urging them to support this bill. Watch for more updates!
Working Interdisciplinary Networks of Guardianship Stakeholders (WINGS)
Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson and her Executive Assistant Judge Andrew Bissonnette have put together a group to work on issues related to guardianship. ADAW's Rob Gundermann was invited to join the group. He has been advocating for reforms related to the Supreme Court Decision regarding Helen E.F. which affirmed that people suffering only from Alzheimer's disease should not be subject to involuntary civil commitment under a statute commonly used to confine people with temporary mental problems. The ruling has greatly impacted emergency detentions for people with Alzheimer’s disease. They have now formed a Helen E.F. workgroup on which he is serving and he has also been appointed to the legislative committee. The legislative committee will vet all proposals coming out of the various workgroups. They have just started their work and recently completed their first Helen E.F. workgroup meeting. He is hopeful they will be able to come together and find some solutions to this very difficult issue. Updates will be given as new developments arise.
Protecting seniors is a priority for the ADAW. This session we were contacted by the Baeb family in Green Bay about a situation they experienced. In 2013 Claire Baeb, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and her husband Leo, set off on a trip which should have lasted a mere hour and a half but they became lost and that short journey turned into 36 hours of panic for the family. The husband and wife were eventually found after a day and a half but the husband passed away within 24 hours of their recovery. The Silver Alert bill was drafted in response to this and many similar stories from all across Wisconsin. Over the past year and a half Claire and her two daughters made numerous trips to Madison to advocate for Silver Alert with our Public Policy Director, Rob Gundermann. They testified at both the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care public hearing and the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee hearing in favor of the Silver Alert Bill. In addition Rob and the Baeb family held one on one meetings with legislators from all across Wisconsin urging them to support the bill, garnering unanimous votes in favor of the bill in both committees as well as in both the Assembly and Senate floor votes.
Increasing and enhancing community based supports for people with dementia.
The number of people in our state with dementia is increasing at an alarming rate. Wisconsin is growing older, baby boomers are reaching the age when dementia typically strikes and people are living longer, all of which are contributing to a sort of perfect storm for Wisconsin’s Medicaid program. Studies have shown that average nursing home costs in Wisconsin are now more than $90,000 per year and Wisconsin is home to somewhere between 115,000 and 130,000 people with Alzheimer’s type dementia alone. In order to avoid bankrupting our Medicaid program we will need to increase supports to families and encourage home and community based care as much as possible. Most people with dementia would also prefer to be at home, where the majority of their care is provided for free by friends and family.
Increase funding for the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP). Seek out additional community based supports. Provide additional respite opportunities for family caregivers.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) held a summit in October to explore options in redesigning the system of dementia care in Wisconsin. Primary focus was on providing appropriate, safe and cost effective care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia throughout the course of the disease.
Summit participants, including ADAW’s Public Policy Director Rob Gundermann, identified six priorities to guide the overall plan, covering ways to address gaps in the current care delivery infrastructure and expand community and crisis services for people with dementia. One of the priorities focuses on using ADAW’s dementia crisis team as a template for similar services across the state.
The report, “Redesigning Wisconsin’s Dementia Care System: a Stakeholder Summit,” is available on the DHS website or by clicking here.
Open letter to Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation
The Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance, along with the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin, American Liver Foundation – Great Lakes Chapter, National Lung Cancer Partnership and The Epilepsy Foundation Southern Wisconsin, is encouraging the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation to oppose any cuts to Medicare and the Part D program as Congress and the Congressional “Super Committee” debate spending cuts.
November 8, 2011: Rob Gundermann presents award to Ron Kind
Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director with the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance, presented the "Stand Up for America's Seniors" award by Retire Safe to Congressman Ron Kind. Kind is just one of three people in the state receiving this award.
Changes to Medicare Part D will hurt seniors 8/23/11
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director for the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance, shares an opinion piece saying, "...Medicare Part D already works. But it can only continue to do so if Congress lets it."
We need your voice!
The Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin is working hard to protect people with Alzheimer’s and their families through our grass roots Advocacy Network. Sign up today and we will alert you when important public policy issues arise in Wisconsin or Washington, D.C.
Recently we have:
- Prevented the proposed elimination of the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP) in the state budget.
- Added several million dollars to the state budget for Alzheimer’s research, laying the groundwork for the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (W-ADRC) in Madison.
- Worked to increase the number of training hours for Certified Nursing Assistants from 75 to 120.
Please consider adding your voice to the Network — your letters and phone calls really do make a difference!
For questions or more information, contact Rob Gundermann, Public Policy Director at 608.215.8987 or 608.232.3408.