Marlborough – Representative Danielle W. Gregoire (D-Marlborough) was presented with an Outstanding Legislative Achievement Award in June from the Alzheimer’s Association. Gregoire was acknowledged for spearheading legislation last session to address the disease.
In 2018, Gregoire led her colleagues in the House and Senate in passing Chapter 220 of the Acts of 2018. An Act Relative to Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias in the Commonwealth was signed into law on Aug. 9, 2018 and has been celebrated across the country as the first legislation in the nation that comprehensively addresses the most under-recognized public health threat in the U.S., Alzheimer’s.
“The Alzheimer’s Association is grateful for the leadership of Representative Gregoire and the action taken by the Massachusetts legislature when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” said Daniel Zotos, director of public policy and advocacy for the Alzheimer’s Association- Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter. “Passage of the Mass. Alzheimer’s & Dementia Act in 2018 was a major step forward in better diagnosis, treatment, and care for those living with dementia and their families and now serves as a national model.”
In addition to creating a state plan within the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, as well as a permanent advisory council to coordinate government efforts, this law also requires curriculum content about Alzheimer’s and related dementias be incorporated into continuing medical education programs for physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. Additionally, this law establishes regulations for elder protective services social workers to ensure that individuals suffering from dementia are financially, physically and emotionally protected. Furthermore, this law requires all Massachusetts hospitals to implement an operational plan for the recognition and management of patients with dementias, as Massachusetts has the sixth-highest rate of hospital readmissions for patients with this disease. Finally, an alarming 45 percent of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are not told of their disease. This law would ensure the proper notification to family members or legal representatives.
“It was a great honor to be recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association for the work we did last session in passing this critically important legislation,” said Gregoire. “As I said that day in my remarks, this law is just the beginning and we have a lot of hard work to do to end this devastating disease. I look forward to continuing the fight.”