January 26, 2004
ISSUES POLICY STUDY ON ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE CARE
Report makes suggestions for public policy, legislation
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. today published a major study of the
legal and policy issues related to Alzheimer's disease. The 115-page
report is believed to be the first of its kind by an Attorney General's
"More than 85,000 Marylanders now have this terrible disease,
and tens of thousands more will develop it in the coming years,"
Curran said. "This report reflects our effort to understand
and address the policy implications of this major public health
"Policy Study on Alzheimer's Disease Care" covers health
care decision making, including advance care planning, guardianship,
and participation in medical research; financial planning; Medicaid
issues; regulation of nursing homes and assisted living facilities;
patient abuse and financial exploitation; long-term care insurance;
and driver's licensing.
the report, Curran identified several goals of public policy relating
to Alzheimer's disease: to further the right of individuals to plan
for health care and other decisions in accordance with their personal
values; to safeguard individuals against abuse, neglect, and financial
exploitation; to promote systematic improvement in care, especially
in state-regulated facilities; to support both family and professional
care givers as they respond to the changing needs of people with
AD; to balance support for research with protection of vulnerable
research participants; and to promote mobility while protecting
report contains two dozen recommendations. Among these are three
suggestions for legislative action: to clarify how the Health Care
Decisions Act applies to medical research, to put a warning notice
on preprinted durable power of attorney forms, and to prohibit genetic
discrimination in long-term care insurance. Other recommendations
are addressed to State regulatory agencies, the State Advisory Council
on Quality Care at the End of Life, and health care providers.
report is intended to identify, and promote public discussion about,
the legal and policy environment in which Alzheimer's disease care
is delivered," Curran said. "State law can have a dramatic
effect, for example, on whether a person with AD can get needed
services in the community instead of in a nursing home, a person
with mild AD can continue to drive, or someone whose genes put the
person at a higher risk of future AD can buy long-term care insurance."
study was three years in the making. Curran's staff reviewed pertinent
literature, interviewed experts and met with people directly affected
by the disease. Drafts of the report were open to public comment.
report is available on the Attorney General's web site at: www.oag.state.md.us/Healthpol/Alzheimers.
Single printed copies are also available from the Attorney General's
Health Policy Division at (410) 576-6327.