North Carolina State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In 2014, language was included in North Carolina’s budget bill, Senate Bill 744, calling for the development of a state Alzheimer’s plan. In March 2015, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine convened a Task Force to develop an Alzheimer’s disease strategic plan at the direction of the state’s department of health. The Task Force included health care providers, advocates and other stakeholders who worked together to determine the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the state. Dementia-Capable North Carolina: A Strategic Plan for Addressing Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias was published in March 2016.
North Carolina 2023 Policy Priorities
Codify the Dementia-Capable North Carolina State Plan
Dementia State Plans provide a pathway for states to ensure the needs of their dementia population are being met. Without formal codification to require an updated State Plan every few years, policymakers will not be held accountable for establishing the infrastructure necessary to address the growing dementia crisis. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state legislators to pass legislation that formally codifies the Dementia-Capable North Carolina State Plan and requires the Department of Health and Human Services to maintain a State Alzheimer’s Coordinator position. This position will serve as a liaison between state agencies, the governor, the legislature, and private stakeholders to ensure the state has a coordinated and effective approach toward addressing Alzheimer’s and other dementia.
Incorporate Dementia on Discharge Documents
Residents of long-term care facilities can be discharged from their home without notice or cause, without the opportunity to appeal. Transfers or discharges can be very traumatizing to residents, especially those living with dementia. In North Carolina, dementia is not currently listed as a reason for involuntary discharge on the appropriate paperwork, leading to miscommunication and difficulty when navigating the appeals process. The Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for dementia to be noted as a medical diagnosis on discharge paperwork to aid North Carolinians with dementia in appealing an involuntary discharge notice.
Incorporate Dementia in Existing Public Health Campaigns
With 180,000 residents of North Carolina living with Alzheimer’s, information about the disease and North Carolina’s network of resources and services should be accessible and promoted throughout the state. In partnership with the Dementia-Capable North Carolina Task Force and Area Agency on Aging, the Alzheimer’s Association is advocating for legislation that will incorporate messaging on dementia and brain health into existing, relevant public health outreach programs. Messaging will include increasing awareness of early warning signs of Alzheimer’s and the importance of risk reduction, particularly in communities who are at greater risk of developing dementia. Outreach will also include education for health care providers on the importances of early detection and timely diagnosis, the importance of validated cognitive assessment tools, Medicare billing codes for individuals with cognitive impairment, and the value of annual Medicare wellness visits.
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State Affairs Contact: Scott Herrick
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in North Carolina
North Carolinians are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
increase in Alzheimer’s deaths 2000-2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in North Carolina needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in North Carolina
The following resources developed by AIM and the Alzheimer’s Association will help you learn more about the issues impacting people living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers, how North Carolina policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.