Legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove to establish a 15-member Alzheimer’s Disease Study Commission was released today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.
The Commission’s duties would include, but not be limited to, studying the current impact and incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among residents and make projections on the future impact on the state’s population, study the state’s role in long-term care for persons with early stage and early onset of Alzheimer’s disease and consider the capacity of public safety and law enforcement to persons with Alzheimer’s disease.
“By conservative estimates, 150,000 out of the nearly 8.8 million people living in New Jersey have Alzheimer’s disease,” said Senator Connors. “Our Delegation worked in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Chapter of New Jersey in developing this legislation. Considering how widespread the disease is believed to be, it was understood that a comprehensive framework for improving care and treatment needed to be developed in preparation of more individuals becoming diagnosed with this disease. Forming a Commission comprised of individuals with specific expertise seemed an appropriate and necessary first step.”
“Over the past two decades there have been significant developments, both on the medical front as well as population data, since the state Commission on Alzheimer’s Disease issued its report more than 25 years ago,” added Assemblyman Rumpf. “Among the Commission’s primary issues of focus will include, but not be limited to, the coordination of services of treatment within the state, assessing the current needs of patients, as well as the availability and affordability of existing services.”
Under the Delegation’s legislation, S-125/A-322, Commission members, who will be unpaid, will include the Commissioners of Health and Human Services, two persons recommended by the Alzheimer’s Association, three health care professionals, a representative of the clergy, as well as a licensed attorney with expertise in legal and financial planning and elder care issues. Four legislators will serve on the Commission in addition to the nine appointees made by the Governor.
Assemblywoman Gove went on to add, “Statistics on Alzheimer’s disease and its widespread effect are alarming and illustrate, in no uncertain terms, the pressing need to have a better plan in place for treatment on a large scale and greater public awareness. When adding together the estimates on people suffering from the disease, medical professionals providing treatment, and the family members caring for a loved one, it is estimated that more than 350,000 people in our state are impacted by Alzheimer’s. I am confident that with their collective expertise and knowledge, this Commission would be able to provide recommendations for addressing the very daunting task of ensuring that patients and their families can receive the medical care and assistance that they desperately need.”