U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra released HHS's National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease: 2023 Update.
The National Plan is a roadmap of strategies and actions of how HHS and its partners can accelerate research, expand treatments, improve care, support people living with dementia and their caregivers, and encourage action to reduce risk factors. It highlights the progress made in 2023, which was an historic year for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and care for people with this condition.
After years of investment in dementia research by NIH, in 2023, the FDA for the first time granted traditional approval to a drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), an historic step in the fight against this devastating disease. Following the FDA announcement in July, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) opened a free, online registry where clinicians across the country can provide data on clinical diagnosis and adverse events for patients in the early stages of AD. The registry allows patients to receive the treatment through Medicare while also contributing to our collective knowledge about who is more or less likely to benefit from these drugs. In October, CMS also removed the previous limit of one PET beta-amyloid scan per lifetime.
In July, CMS announced the Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) Model, a new demonstration program through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which aims to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia, reduce strain on unpaid caregivers, and help people remain in their homes and communities through a package of care coordination and management, caregiver education and support, and respite services. CMS has developed a strategy to inform the model that helps reach everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity. This strategy includes efforts to recruit and support safety-net organizations that provide care to underserved populations and a focus on individuals with dementia who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. CMS is currently recruiting participants for the GUIDE Model, which will provide support to people throughout the disease process and with all stages of dementia.
The 2023 update also highlights the many other actions HHS and federal partners took throughout the year to advance this work. For example, in May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) convened the first ever National Summit on Dementia Risk Reduction. The summit brought together leaders in research, public health, and policy to present the latest evidence and highlight the gaps to reduce risk factors for dementia.
The National Alzheimer's Project Act, which was signed into law in 2011, established the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services and charged the HHS Secretary with creating and annually updating a National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease. The plan is developed with input from agencies across HHS and other federal departments as well as recommendations from the Advisory Council, whose members include healthcare providers, researchers, caregivers, individuals living with dementia, state representatives, and advocates.
The National Plan has six ambitious goals:
- Prevent and Effectively Treat Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias by 2025
- Enhance Care Quality and Efficiency
- Expand Supports for People with Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias and Their Families
- Enhance Public Awareness and Engagement
- Improve Data to Track Progress
- Accelerate Action to Promote Healthy Aging and Reduce Risk Factors for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias