UsA2 Issues Call to Action: Make Annual Brain Health Check-up a Part of Routine Care
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Organization Makes Recommendations for Reforming Healthcare System to Prioritize Brain Health and More Effectively Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s
Washington, D.C. (April 29, 2019) – UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) today released a call to action via a new paper, Creating an Optimal System of Brain Health Care in the United States. The paper – a project of UsA2’s Brain Health Partnership – was authored by healthcare and aging experts at Anne Tumlinson Innovations and convened more than 40 expert contributors from academia, business, health providers, the non-profit sector, the highest levels of government, and others.
Building on decades of research and innovation, the paper calls for making an annual brain health check-up a regular part of routine healthcare and identifies three key action areas for prioritizing and promoting brain health for individuals, providers, and payers. The full text of the paper and a complete list of contributors can be found here.
Action Area 1: Equip Healthcare Providers with Solutions to Support Brain Health Across the Lifespan
- Make an annual brain health check-up standard practice for people of every age, not just older Americans.
- Equip providers with the tools to promote brain health for people of all ages and encourage conversations with healthy individuals before symptoms occur.
- Connect providers with regional and local resources that offer solutions and resources for their patients.
Action Area 2: Create Demand for Lifelong Brain Health Care
- Expand brain health education to increase demand for healthy brain care. Here, women are uniquely positioned to lead the effort – as they have historically across other health initiatives – to ensure that communities are being brain powerful.
- Leverage technology innovation, such as wearable health tracking devices, to enhance and expand engagement.
- Develop strategic partnerships with employers, retail healthcare clinics and pharmacies, community-based organizations, the wellness industry, and consumer brands, as well as health plans and other traditional channels to reach and educate individuals, particularly those at high risk for the disease, like communities of color and women.
Action Area 3: Align Business Incentives for Payers and Providers to Promote Brain Health
- Enlist cities and states as partners in considering Medicaid reforms to promote prevention and early detection in managed care and provider activities.
- Develop a national Medicare dementia prevention and detection strategy.
- Build a brain health business case for payers and systems.
In addition to issuing this seminal paper, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is partnering with four former surgeons general of the United States – Drs. Carmona, Elders, Novello, and Satcher – together with the International Council on Active Aging and other mission-aligned organizations to bring needed attention to the dementia crisis. Collectively, the group aims to make proactive brain health a critical element of routine clinical practice.
“We must make every effort to create a system of healthcare that promotes and incentivizes proactive brain health across the lifespan while continuing to pursue drug development to cure Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This starts with people of all ages receiving a regular brain health check-up as a basic part of routine care,” said George Vradenburg, chairman and co-founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s. “Given the emerging scientific evidence that dementia may be delayed or potentially prevented through proactive, risk-reducing actions, we must call on individuals, providers, and payers to focus on brain health. A system that prioritizes establishing a brain health baseline, continuous annual brain health check-ups, and individualized risk reduction can accelerate an end to this terrible disease while also greatly mitigating the burden on public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.”
“We have to start understanding that we all can take proactive, risk-reducing actions to promote our brain health and prevent cognitive decline,” said Anne Tumlinson, CEO of Anne Tumlinson Innovations. “The misperception that Alzheimer’s, dementia, and cognitive decline are all inevitabilities of old age needs to end. We must destigmatize the disease and optimize our healthcare system to incentivize and promote brain health at every stage of life. This starts with a regular assessment of brain health by providers. We look forward to working with all stakeholders to develop and implement critical new policies essential to making the recommendations in this paper a reality.”