COLUMBUS—State Senator Steve Wilson
(R-Maineville) today introduced legislation establishing an Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias Task Force to develop an official, comprehensive state action plan.
This written report will explore the current impact of dementia-related diseases in Ohio and recommend steps the state can take over the next five to 10 years to improve its services and support for patients and their families.
"Remarkably, Ohio is the only state in the nation that has not established a process for creating an official, comprehensive plan to confront this growing public health crisis," said Wilson. "I find that embarrassing and unacceptable."
An estimated 5.7 million Americans, including 220,000 Ohioans, currently live with these diseases. For each patient, two to three caregivers also need support. That represents nearly one million Ohioans impacted by dementia, and some estimates predict these numbers will nearly triple by 2050, making it one of the greatest threats to our state's overburdened health care system.
Treatment costs alone stand at an estimated $259 billion annually, more than half of which comes from taxpayer-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs. Unless something is done, Alzheimer's care will cost an estimated $1.1 trillion a year by 2050, and nearly one in every three Medicare dollars will be spent on Alzheimer's patients.
These numbers are staggering, especially for Ohio, where nearly a quarter of our residents will be 65 or older in less than two decades.
"We desperately need a plan of action," Wilson added. "The task force will gather information on everything from detection and diagnosis to quality of care, training, health care system capacity, fiscal impact, research, public awareness and more. This work will be done over several months with public input and conclude with a final report to the legislature and the governor."
While eager to get the conversation started now, Wilson acknowledges the limited time available in the current legislative session and plans to reintroduce Senate Bill 348 in January as a priority for the 133rd General Assembly.