COLUMBUS—State Senator Steve Wilson
(R-Maineville) and the Ohio Senate yesterday unanimously approved House amendments to Senate Bill 24, which establishes a State Alzheimer's Disease and Dementias Task Force charged with developing a comprehensive, state action plan to prepare for the growing impact of dementia-related diseases.
"I sincerely thank our friends over in the House for their hard work and consideration on on this important piece of legislation. I am certainly pleased that the Senate voted to accept their changes so that we can take the final steps to get this bill across the goal line and begin having an impact on the lives of those who suffer from Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias," said Wilson.
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.
They will then produce a written report of recommendations and determine action steps moving forward. The goal is to explore the current impact of dementia-related diseases in Ohio and recommend steps the state can take over the next five to ten years that will improve its services and support for patients and their families.
Changes to the bill included provisions that suggest the task force provide a week's notice before meetings, as well as adding representation from the Commission on Minority Health to the task force.
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, which represents nearly one million Ohioans impacted by dementia. 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.
Senate Bill 24 will now be sent to Governor DeWine's Office for consideration.