Performance Evaluation of Idaho State Response to Alzheimer's and Dementia

by ROSE SHABABY
Staff Writer | January 7, 2021 1:00 AM

BOISE, Idaho –– The Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Idaho is calling on lawmakers to develop a coordinated plan addressing the needs of Idahoans living with dementia, their caregivers, establish a system-wide oversight entity and create an ongoing position in the Division of Public Health.

A new report from the Office of Performance Evaluations (OPE) shows that Idaho has made little improvement to address the issue, retains no employees fully dedicated to dementia work and Medicaid reimbursement rates do not accurately reflect the time needed to care for affected individuals.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 27,000 Idahoans are living with Alzheimer’s and an estimated 88,000 family members provide over 99 million hours of unpaid daily care for those afflicted.

The report also reveals that neighboring states have higher standards for assisted living facilities, more robust prevention efforts, fewer barriers to service coordination and stronger systemwide oversight.

Additionally, the fiscal impact of Alzheimer’s disease is staggering. In 2020 Idaho Medicaid costs for Alzheimer’s patients was $149 million, estimated to increase by nearly 32 percent over the next 5 years.

“Many people with dementia suffer from multiple chronic conditions and the need for support is great. As the number of Idahoans living with dementia continues to increase, there is a significant, urgent call for a comprehensive strategic plan,” said Lisa Anderson, Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Idaho public policy director.

The Alzheimer’s Association looks forward to collaborating with elected officials to ensure that vital programs and services in Idaho are up to the growing demand.

If you would like more information regarding Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, please contact the local Alzheimer’s Association office at (208) 206-0041.