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May 9, 2019 · OPINION

Congress, please, help with Alzheimer’s care education

By Michelle Falkenrath Winner
and Sean Broderick

There are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s, including 150,000 here in Virginia. Up until recently, two of those people were parents of ours.

Judith Frances Falkenrath was a loving, compassionate and extremely strong woman with a beautiful smile and an unforgettable laugh. She made a career out of helping children as an educator and advocate. She fought Alzheimer’s for more than 10 years; she fought until the end, which came on February 24, 2019.

Tony Broderick was a former civil servant who was once head of the Federal Aviation Administrations safety division. His mission to make air travel safer took him around the world. His last trip, to Toulouse, France, was in September 2014, long after dementia began taking its toll. He passed away on December 30, 2018.
 
As two people who both witnessed and helped care for our parents as they fought this horrible disease, we understand firsthand the enormous burden dementia has on Virginias families, caregivers and the economy. Too often, caregivers struggle until the very end and never get appropriate care. There is too little help for understanding and figuring out options for Alzheimer’s patients. As the population ages, the challenge will only get more burdensome — unless we act.

As of January 2017, Medicare covers critical care planning services. However, not enough patients and providers are aware of this resource. In the first year the care planning reimbursement was available, fewer than 1 percent of seniors living with Alzheimer’s received the care planning benefit.

Word-of-mouth isn’t good enough — a formal program is needed. Thankfully, there is a plan in place.

We are asking Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-Va./5th) to cosponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act. Introduced in March, the bipartisan bill (S. 880/H.R. 1873) would help educate physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified nurse midwives on Alzheimer’s and dementia care planning services through Medicare.

Rep. Riggleman, as two of the many constituents who have been affected by Alzheimer’s, we ask you to use your influence to help spread the word. Coping with Alzheimer’s is a day-to-day reality for so many. Please, help ease their burden by giving them the power of knowledge.

The writers, both communications professionals and Fauquier residents, previously worked together at a local marketing agency, and are forever bound as friends in part through their experiences with Alzheimer’s.

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Rusty Wheel · May 24, 2019 at 5:57 pm
is that my buddy madge?

gotta be madge
Savefauquiercounty2019 · May 23, 2019 at 5:50 am
JD Warrenton, you are absolutely correct. President Trump has made a positive impact.
Cammie,you continue to place blame on the debt on Trump.
We all know how much the illegals are costing us. Now, Virginia Democrat leaders are using tax payers monies to pay for illegals legal fees. And you think they'd be thankful? No, they grow up and become Irma Corado.
Cammie Rodgers · May 20, 2019 at 12:39 pm
JDwarrenton - This President has also increased our national debt. "Washington (CNN) The US national debt stood at $21.974 trillion at the end of 2018, more than $2 trillion higher than when President Donald Trump took office, according to numbers released Thursday by the Treasury Department.Jan 4, 2019"

He went bankrupt how many times? Is he now trying to bankrupt the US Treasury, the biggest sugar daddy of them all?
Cammie Rodgers · May 20, 2019 at 12:34 pm
There are so MANY special interest groups out there, which one takes precedence. 5 million people suffering with Alzheimer's, we also have 39.7 million people that live in poverty in this country, while only 54.5 % of Americans pay taxes. Where is the money going to come from to support all the special interests?

If you are an older person, Alzheimer's is an issue, not so much for someone in their 20's and 30's, their issue is protection of reproduction rights, gainful employment at an equal wage, healthcare, and opportunity to have decent housing.

Healthcare is an issue for all Americans, that's what we need to have Congress focus on. We have to address big Pharma, corporate hospitals, and their part in the high costs of healthcare.
Jim Griffin · May 19, 2019 at 10:12 pm
I have little trouble agreeing he's done some good things. Cancelling TPP at the outset of his presidency was a good sign that soon disappeared with the weight of many self-inflicted wounds, one of them appointing Jeff Sessions.

Agreed with you, JD, more money for health is not another step down the road to socialism. It is part of a vital safety net without which capitalism is sunk.
JDwarrenton · May 19, 2019 at 10:06 pm
This President has quadrupled the amount spent on research for a cure of Alzheimers, from $500 million a year for decade or more, to $2 billion this year. This should have been done years ago, but no other President or Congress acted.

He also promoted the "right-to-try" legislation that allows terminally ill patients the right to try experimental therapies. Another bold action that was long overdue.

And just recently, he kick started the legislation for transparency in pricing for medical treatment so that patients may know in advance the cost of their medical treatment. I for one could have benefited since I COULD NOT get an estimate for a routine screening colonoscopy prior to treatment in advance. On the morning of the procedure I was asked to sign an estimate for $644, but got a bill for $5800 2 weeks later.

It's about time the press gives this President credit for his many good actions. But of course, they will not - just like some reading this will not.
Jim Griffin · May 10, 2019 at 10:28 am
I feel supportive, but some around here count every government dime devoted to health care another step towards socialism, which seems to me ridiculous.

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