Panel: Develop dementia care quality measures

(AP Photo/David Duprey) (AP Photo/David Duprey)

A panel that's helping to shape the national response to dementia has suggested that policymakers should come up with better measures for assessing the quality of dementia care.

The Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Subcommittee at the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services has included that recommendation in a batch of proposals prepared for the council.

Congress included the law that created the advisory council in the National Alzheimer’s Project Act of 2011 (NAPA). The council is supposed to help its parent, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) come up with a plan for preventing and curing Alzheimer’s by 2025.

The council also is supposed to come up for strategies for improving support for people with dementia and their relatives.

The council and its subcommittees have given little attention to private long-term care insurance (LTCI) and other private long-term care (LTC) financing mechanisms in the past, and the LTSS subcommittee did not directly address private LTCI financing mechanisms in the current collection of proposals.

The LTSS subcommittee did suggest did suggest that "states should assure that they have robust, dementia capable LTSS systems" and that states should "work with the private sector to implement strategies in concert with the National Alzheimer's Plan."

The services for people with Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia should include "care and estate planning" along with "care/treatment advocacy (e.g.. medication management, benefits counseling and patient navigation)," the subcommittee said.

Medicare coverage should include "a package of services that covers the clinical diagnosis of [Alzheimer's disease] as well as care planning for the individual and their caregivers," the subcommittee said.

HHS, researchers and other stakeholders "should develop quality care measures and indicators for diagnosis, treatment and care of individuals with AD," the subcommittee said. "Over time, these quality measures and indicators should cover care in the full array of medical and LTSS settings; and care coordination and transitions among settings."

Federal health agencies should embed the quality measures in the health care system, the subcommittee said.

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