New Alzheimer’s Study Underscores Importance of Sustaining Viable Medicaid System


“The long term care stakeholder community must work together in an intelligent, realistic manner to ensure the Medicaid safety net does not fray in the critical years ahead and that the rising numbers of Alzheimer’s patients are not relegated to a status unworthy of our great nation”

Long Term Care Facilities Predict Older, Sicker, Cognitively-Impaired Patient Population

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) today said that findings in a new study from the Alzheimer’s Association, which estimates ten million U.S. baby boomers will develop Alzheimer’s disease in their lifetime, underscores the urgent need for Congress and the Bush Administration to ensure Medicaid has both the future capacity and the financing necessary to compassionately and effectively treat what will be an older, sicker, cognitively-impaired patient population.

“This is a significant, disturbing and timely study from the Alzheimer’s Association because it demonstrates in stark definable terms why Medicaid must remain financially viable to ensure we have the ability to care for the influx of Baby Boomers who will require increasingly high levels of care,” stated Bruce Yarwood, President and CEO of AHCA/NCAL “The study also signals to our policy makers that critical Medicaid ‘reforms’ cannot lead us down a road that will further weaken the financial underpinnings of this already unstable program.”

Currently, at least 5.2 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, including 200,000 to 250,000 people under age 65. The Alzheimer’s report estimates that by 2010, there will be 500,000 new cases of the disease each year and nearly one million new cases annually by 2050.

Yarwood reiterated AHCA/NCAL’s position on Medicaid reform proposals, stating that it is essential for Congress and the Administration to focus on how they would impact care capacity at the state level, and how simply eliminating revenue would decimate the ability to enhance staffing, improve quality, and bolster facility infrastructure and capacity as demand for more care and therapies is on the rise.

“The long term care stakeholder community must work together in an intelligent, realistic manner to ensure the Medicaid safety net does not fray in the critical years ahead and that the rising numbers of Alzheimer’s patients are not relegated to a status unworthy of our great nation,” concluded Yarwood.

The American Health Care Association represents nearly 11,000 non-profit and proprietary facilities dedicated to continuous improvement in the delivery of professional and compassionate care provided daily by millions of caring employees to 1.5 million of our nation's frail, elderly and disabled citizens who live in nursing facilities, assisted living residences, subacute centers and homes for persons with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org.