HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso (R- Allegheny/Westmoreland) has been signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf. Act 9 of 2022
, known as the Early Detection and Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or a Related Disorder Act, sheds more light on cognitive diseases and creates a structure to unite patients and health care providers around cognitive concerns that will lead to an earlier diagnosis of the disease.
“Advocating for health care initiatives and authoring this specific legislation provides a proactive tool for preventing long term obstacles for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and all other related disorders associated with cognitive decline,” said Lewis DelRosso. “I am so excited my bill has been signed into law with unanimous support to create a preventative tool and cost-effective way for families and friends to assist their loved ones. I have had many conversations with constituents and health care providers who support this legislation due to families being unprepared for this multi-billion-dollar health care problem.”
More than 280,000 Pennsylvanians are living with cognitive diseases, and more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians are unpaid caregivers to those who live with the diseases. Only about half of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia have been diagnosed. One in 10 Pennsylvanians aged 45 and older experience confusion and memory loss, but nearly half of them have not talked to a health care professional about it. Some factors that contribute to low diagnosis rates include stigma, cultural differences, awareness and understanding. Some may not be able to obtain a diagnosis and those who do struggle with how to manage the diseases and access optimal care.
“When it comes to cognitive health, early detection and diagnosis is paramount and early intervention is key to obtaining proper care, and planning for the future,” said Jennifer Ebersole, director of State Government Affairs for the Alzheimer's Association. “Our state’s aging population is one of the largest in the country, and it will only continue to grow. Legislation like this, which directly addresses the needs of Pennsylvania residents and establishes a foundation for future collaboration and intervention, are really where we see promise in Pennsylvania’s ability to address, and hopefully curtail, this public health crisis.”
Rep. Carrie Lewis DelRosso
33rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives