Health care spending is 18 percent of the national economy so it is no wonder that big health issues face the states in 2014. The all-consuming question for states is how to contain costs. The Affordable Care Act kicks in full force in 2014 and states that haven't already decided to expand Medicaid eligibility may take up the question. The health marketplaces, while slow to start in October, were making more headway as 2014 began. Nearly 4 million (3.9) individuals had been deemed Medicaid or CHIP eligible and another 2.1 million selected private health insurance policies through the federal or state marketplaces by the end of December 2013. States will look at systems and delivery methods, including mental health, aging and professional scope of practice issues. 

Legislators from across the country and other key stakeholders attended the Health Policy Academy on Aging and Alzheimer’s disease, held on October 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the CSG National Conference & North American Summit in Bellevue, Washington. Speakers outlined the growing burden of Alzheimer’s disease, the state of the science around prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease and states’ policy responses to the issues of aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Manny Najera had seen the effects of Alzheimer’s firsthand when he was caring for his aging mother, who suffered from the disease.

When he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last year at age 75, Najera wasn’t surprised.

 “I was at a different plateau than your usual person who was told you have Alzheimer’s,” he said.

As a former Texas state legislator, he knew from whence he spoke to those attending an all-day Health Policy Academy on Alzheimer’s disease Wednesday. He believes it’s important for policymakers...

The Council of State Governments invites you to attend Aging and Alzheimer's Disease: Emerging Issues and Policy Solutions, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in Bellevue, Wash. The session will immediately precede the CSG National Conference and North American Summit, scheduled for Oct. 19-23. 

Three out of four people with Alzheimer's disease will end up in a nursing home unless better systems of community care and support are built in states. Even without robust systems, today, nearly 15 million caregivers provide care valued at $202 billion. 

The federal government has launched a new initiative designed to change how states deliver services in one of the most costly areas of Medicaid: long-term care.

This Act enables doctors to report to the state department of motor vehicles patients who have physical or mental conditions which impair the patients‘ driving skills.

Millions of Americans have Alzheimer's disease and the number is growing as the population ages.  Large numbers of  persons with Alzheimer's disease in nursing homes present care-giving challenges, as well as state financing issues.

Suggested State Legislation: This Act creates a program for local, regional, or statewide notification of a missing senior adult. The bill defines a missing senior adult as an adult who is over 60 years of age, suffers from a cognitive impairment that renders them unable to care for themselves without assistance (including a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia), and whose whereabouts are unknown and whose disappearance poses a credible threat to their health and safety. The program is similar to the Amber Alert Program for missing children.

Suggested State Legislation: This legislation requires the state to bring together state leaders, long-term care industry representatives, social services organizations serving persons with dementia, and families living with dementia to create a comprehensive state government strategy to serve people with dementia.