Daily Court Reporter - News Lawmakers seek task force to address Alzheimer's, dementia
Lawmakers seek task force to address Alzheimer's, dementia
KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer
A pair of state senators believe it's time for the state to come up with a plan of action as it relates to Ohio's aging population and the impact diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia have on that population.
"Ohio's population is getting older and we are not ready to support the growing number of people with Alzheimer's, their caregivers and their families," Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, said during testimony in support of the bill he sponsors jointly with Sen. Steve Wilson, R-Maineville.
"We have to act now to develop a plan of action for our communities and public support systems."
Filed as Senate Bill 24, the legislation would create the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Task Force to research current impact of dementia-related diseases in Ohio and provide recommendations on how the state could take steps to improve services and support.
"Alzheimer's disease can affect anyone," Yuko said.
Nearly one million Ohioans are directly impacted by Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, a press release detailed. An estimated 220,000 Ohioans currently live with dementia, and for each affected individual, there are typically two to three caregivers providing them support.
The task force would be required to submit a report detailing its findings and recommendations to the governor and General Assembly.
Wilson explained the scope of the report.
The written report is to explore the current impact of dementia-related diseases on the state and recommend steps to be implemented within the next five to ten years that will improve its services and support for patients and their families.
"Remarkably, Ohio is the only state in the nation that has not established a process for creating an official, comprehensive plan to confront this growing public health crisis," Wilson said. "I find that embarrassing and unacceptable."
He estimated nearly a million Ohioans are affected by dementia and expects that will nearly triple by 2050, making it one of the greatest threats to our state's overburdened health care system, he added.
Treatment costs alone stand at an estimated $259 billion annually, more than half of which comes from taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs, the press release noted.
The lawmakers believe that unless something is done, Alzheimer's care is expected to cost an estimated $1.1 trillion a year by 2050, and nearly one in every three Medicare dollars will be spent on Alzheimer's patients.
Staggering numbers, especially for Ohio, where nearly a quarter of its residents will be 65 or older in less than two decades, they said.
"We desperately need a plan of action," Wilson said. "The task force will gather information on everything from detection and diagnosis to quality of care, training, health care system capacity, fiscal impact, research, public awareness and more.
"This work will be done over several months with public input."
According to analysis of the bill by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, SB 24 would require the task force, not later than 18 months after the bill's effective date, to submit to the governor and General Assembly a report detailing its findings and recommendations.
Upon submission of the report, the task force would cease to exist, analysis detailed.
Seven fellow senators have cosponsored the bill, which was scheduled a second hearing this week.
Date Published: April 11, 2019