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Friday, June 02, 2023

Alzheimer's training HB 1673 sent to Governor's desk


I'm excited to announce that HB 1673, the bill that I went to Austin to testify for back in April, passed the Texas House of Representatives and Senate and has been sent to the Governor's desk.  


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Special thanks to Ryan Chandler of KXAN Austin plus Chris Pruitt and Seth Kovar of CW39 KIAH Houston for covering our support of State Rep. Giovanni Capriglione's bill.

Here is more information from the Alzheimer’s Association:


 

Austin, Texas (June 1, 2023) - Alzheimer’s disease is the most expensive disease in America. The escalating Alzheimer’s epidemic has profound implications on individuals as well as state and federal governments. Texas ranks fourth in the number of Alzheimer’s cases and second in the number of Alzheimer’s deaths in the United States. Legislators during this, the 88th, session demonstrated their commitment to strengthen Texas’s response to the serious public health crisis of Alzheimer’s disease. Numerous bills focused on dementia were considered during the state legislative session. The Alzheimer’s Association championed for and is thrilled to announce the passing of three historic advances in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.

The 2024-2025 State Budget passed with a 550% increased investment to $5.5 million over the biennium for the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Alzheimer’s Disease Program. The Alzheimer’s Disease Program (ADP) provides information and resources to improve care and support and encourage early detection and diagnosis for persons with the disease and their caregivers. With these additional and necessary funds championed by Chairman Giovanni Capriglione, the ADP will have the capacity to provide educational resources for physicians and healthcare professional about the value of early detection and accurate diagnosis; increase public education about brain health and dementia risk reduction, and; implement the Texas State Plan on Alzheimer’s. By comparison, Florida invests $44.1 million annually in similar programs, while Georgia invests $8.3 million.

“Alzheimer’s is a triple threat — with no way to prevent, treat, or cure the disease,” says Melissa Sanchez, Texas Public Policy Director for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Until we find a cure for this devastating disease, investing in support for those living with the disease and their caregivers must remain a priority in our state.”

In addition to the historic increase in funding, two dementia training bills were passed into law, requiring dementia training for law enforcement officers and for assisted-living facility employees. H.B. 568 by Representative Rhetta Bowers (SB 443 by Senator José Menendez), ensures law enforcement officers are trained on how to interact with persons with dementia.

“As the number of people with dementia continues to grow, officers will undoubtedly face several obstacles during their encounters with people with dementia including unique behavioral challenges. Enhancing already required law enforcement training to expand upon safely interacting with persons with Alzheimer’s, can often effectively address situations and ensure the safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s as well as the safety of law enforcement,” says Sanchez.

More than 40% of those in residential care facilities, such as assisted living facilities, have Alzheimer’s or another dementia. For this reason, the passage of H.B. 1673 by Chairman Giovanni Capriglione (Senate sponsor: Senator Johnson) was a critical win for the dementia community in Texas. Of his leadership on Alzheimer’s issues this legislative session, Chairman Giovanni Capriglione says, “It was my pleasure this session to work alongside the Alzheimer’s Association to pass HB 1673 and secure funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Program.

HB 1673 requires all direct-care staff and management to complete a minimum of four hours, competency-based training with an additional two hours of training annually. Additionally, $5.5 million dollars was appropriated to promote the importance of early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as provide additional support to qualified caregivers. With the passage of HB 1673, Texas demonstrates the importance of proper training for direct-care providers to improve quality of care. I would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Association, our Senate Sponsor Nathan Johnson, and all stakeholders who worked on HB 1673 for all their work to get this bill to the Governor’s desk.”

“The increased investment in Alzheimer’s care and support and the legislation passed, is a big win for the 400,000 Texans living with Alzheimer's disease and the 1 million caregivers who provide over $24 billion in unpaid care. We greatly appreciate the leadership of all our bill sponsors, the bipartisan support we received from the legislature and our community partners, and the voices my fellow advocates lent throughout the session to advance these priorities,” says longtime Alzheimer’s Association advocate and Board Member, Michael McGuff, who testified in support of H.B 1673.

About the Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia®. Visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.



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