Senator Golden Leads Senate Passage Of Legislation To Establish Alzheimer's Council In New York State

Martin J. Golden

June 20, 2007

Brooklyn- State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), the Chairman of the New York State Senate Committee on Aging is announcing that the New York State Senate has approved legislation (S. 2449-A) to establish the Coordinating Council For Services Related to Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia in New York State.

The Council will review and report upon the use of clinically recognized, scientifically based, cognitive impairment screening tools used to identify signs of and individuals at-risk for cognitive impairment, including Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. The Council will also review and report on best practices of providers concerning early identification of at-risk individuals and referral practices, the range of interventions and services available for the cognitively impaired, and shall report its assessment of the need and presence of such tools in the health care field.

The Council shall also address the need for public education. The Council will also coordinate with the Department of Health to develop comprehensive responses of the various state agencies with regard to Alzheimer‘s disease and related dementia care and assure timely and appropriate responses to issues and problems.

A Harvard Medical School report estimated that more than two-thirds of people with Alzheimer's disease are already moderately demented by the time they receive a diagnosis, and more than half of those now suffering from dementia have never been diagnosed by a physician. As many as one third of older hospital patients have dementia.

Senator Marty Golden stated, "Establishing protocols to better identify those with dementia and cognitive impairment is important to potentially slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, ensure a safe discharge, enhance the individual's quality of life and help caregivers by providing them with referrals community organizations and supports who specialize in working with this special population."

Senator Golden continued, "Early detection is the key and the necessary direction we must be heading as a state to insure that we limit the negative impact and effects of this illness on our elderly and the families who care for them. This legislation requires the Commissioner of the Health Department to develop questions to be asked, added to the list of standard questions that get asked a patient and or their representative, that are intended to indicate the presence of a cognitive impairment and or dementia. Answering yes to the questions ensures that the physician is notified and a referral is made for a follow up evaluation."

Senator Marty Golden earlier this month led the adoption of a New York State Senate Resolution which declares November, 2007, Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in New York State and November 13, 2007 as Memory Screening Day. Currently, an estimated 330,000 people have Alzheimer’s in New York State and 5 million nationwide. Reports expect the number of those effected by the disease to triple by 2050.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.