Madden Alzheimer’s bill approved by PA House Aging Committee

HARRISBURG, June 12 – The state House Aging and Older Adult Services Committee today reported out legislation sponsored by Chair Maureen Madden that would establish an infrastructure of full-time state agency positions dedicated to supporting dementia initiatives across Pennsylvania.

House Bill 2400 would create a permanent Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Office and establish a 28-member advisory committee, both within the PA Department of Aging, to coordinate across state agencies, advocate policy, and leverage resources to better respond to the unique and complex needs of those living with Alzheimer's and other dementia and the systems that support them.

“We have a growing public health crisis that drains the physical, emotional and financial health of all those impacted including state government resources. Different government agencies administer programs and initiatives that are critical to people living with dementia, but these are predominately siloed with multiple state agencies working separately from one another. However, everyone can agree that the impact of this disease extends well beyond those aged 60 and older, which is why a coordinated, interdepartmental approach that incorporates a broad spectrum of public-private partnerships is necessary to address the multi-faceted challenges of this disease effectively and efficiently,” said Madden, D-Monroe.

Currently, there are more than 282,000 Pennsylvanians aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s, resulting in $3.7 billion in Medicaid costs to care for these individuals. By 2025, the number of Pennsylvanians living with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase to 320,000 with the total Medicaid costs to care for them expected to increase by over 10%. Beyond 2025, these numbers are only expected to increase further.

Pennsylvania released its first comprehensive ADRD State Plan in 2014 and a task force was appointed through the Department of Aging in May 2018 to lead its implementation. Despite these efforts, however, little progress has been made in a coordinated and collaborative way to improve the state’s overall approach to addressing ADRD throughout the commonwealth.

Madden said that during testimony at Monday’s Aging Committee hearing on the legislation, Secretary Jason Kavulich of the PA Department of Aging offered the Shapiro administration’s full support for the bill.

The bill now moves to the full state House of Representatives for consideration.