Letter to the Editor: Policies stymie Alzheimer’s progress

Published 8:13 pm Friday, April 14, 2023

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In March I had the privilege of going to Washington D.C. with the Alzheimer’s Association to meet with the office of my Congressman, Brad Finstad, Patricia Mueller and Gene Dornink. In the years since both of my parents were consumed by Alzheimer’s disease, I advocate for all people with dementia, but especially for my family and friends that have been directly impacted by this destructive condition that has no cure.

Recently the FHA has approved two treatments to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. 

Thanks to our bipartisan champions in Congress, we’ve made great progress advancing research on Alzheimer’s and dementia, providing hope to families with this terrible disease. And now with FDA approval of Alzheimer’s treatments which slow its progression at an early stage, our hopes have been lifted even higher.

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However, CMS, the agency that runs Medicare, has a policy that only applies to those with Alzheimer’s disease, and is blocking access to these and future treatments. This is unjustified, harmful and unfair.

Please join me in calling on Rep. Finstad to contact CMS to change this inhumane policy, and I hope that our other elected leaders from Minnesota and elsewhere will join him. The VA has recently decided to offer these treatments to veterans after conducting additional successful research on these drugs. The fact that CMS is not providing treatment is bizarre, and a discriminatory practice.

Delays are unacceptable. EVERY DAY without access to these FDA-approved drugs, more than 2,000 people transition to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s where they are no longer eligible for treatment. This class of treatments has been clearly proven to delay progression, extending time in the early stage of Alzheimer’s when individuals can still participate in daily life, remain independent, and make future health care decisions.

Please don’t allow people living with dementia, and their families, to be treated like this. My family and yours deserve better, and need your support.

Mary Lindgren

Austin M