West Virginia State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview
In 2011, the West Virginia legislature directed and funded the Joint Committee on Government and Finance to study the needs, challenges and issues facing West Virginians living with Alzheimer’s disease and their families through the passage of Senate Concurrent Resolution 38. Three work groups spearheaded development of policy and program recommendations to improve the lives of people living with Alzheimer’s in West Virginia. The work groups included health care providers, families impacted by Alzheimer’s, public health officials, state legislators, and researchers as well as representatives from local businesses, long-term care providers, state agencies and community organizations. In December 2011, the state Alzheimer’s plan, Make a Plan for Alzheimer’s in West Virginia, was published to serve as an essential guide for policymakers.
West Virginia 2023 Policy Priorities
Incorporate Dementia in Existing Public Health Campaigns
With 39,000 West Virginians living with Alzheimer’s, information about the disease should be easily accessible yet the state currently does not include it among the diseases prioritized within the Bureau of Public Health. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on state lawmakers to approve legislation requiring the state to incorporate dementia into existing public health campaigns targeted to health care providers and to the general public. The campaigns should highlight the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, the value of early detection and diagnosis, and how to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. 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.
Prioritize Alzheimer’s Across State Government
West Virginia last published an Alzheimer’s State Plan in 2011. More than 10 years later, much has changed yet the dementia population is growing rapidly in our state and an updated strategy is needed. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling on legislators to establish an Alzheimer’s infrastructure into state law by creating a permanent Alzheimer’s Council and requiring publication and regular updates to the State Plan. By convening stakeholders from across the state and having state agency leadership, West Virginia is primed to have a robust response to Alzheimer’s that addresses the public health, workforce and care needs of people with dementia and their family caregivers.
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Together, we’re making an impact. Find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your community for more ways to engage.
State Affairs Contact: Ely Osborne
Email: [email protected]
people living with Alzheimer’s in West Virginia
West Virginians are providing unpaid care
Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)
deaths from Alzheimer’s in 2019
in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
increase of geriatricians in West Virginia needed to meet the demand in 2050
Resources to Drive Change in West Virginia
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 West Virginia policymakers are addressing these gaps, and how you can help drive change.