Legislation that made a difference in 2022
As we enter this new year, it’s important to reflect on all that was accomplished in our state legislature in 2022. Even though we have made incredible strides, our work has just begun.
With Florida having the second highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s and our numbers will continue to grow over the next two years by over 24 percent it is imperative we continue to move the needle forward to make Florida a dementia capable state.
A few of our 2022 State Legislative Highlights
The Passage of SB 806, The READY Act
The Ramping Up Education of Alzheimer’s and Dementia for You (READY) Act was a top priority for the Association during the 2022 legislative session. This legislation was sponsored by Senator Keith Perry and Representative Michelle Salzman. It requires the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to educate health care providers on the importance of brain health, early detection and diagnosis.
This bill passed unanimously in both chambers back in March. It was signed into law by Governor DeSantis at a bill signing ceremony in Fort Lauderdale back in June.
Once the bill went into effect on July 1, 2022, the Alzheimer’s Association worked in partnership with FDOH to ensure they had the materials and resources they needed for READY implementation.
This month, FDOH officially launched phase 1 of READY implementation. They have created a new website featuring resources for health care providers. The next step will be messaging for healthcare providers through FDOH’s Medical Quality Assurance team. We look forward to continuing to work with them as they implement this critical legislation.
HIstoric Funding Increases for the Alzheimer’s Initiatives
In 2022, we saw the largest increase in funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) since its creation in 1985. The ADI program provides critically needed respite services for those living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners. These services can be utilized at home or at an adult day care. To learn more about this program, you visit the Department of Elder Affairs’s website.
We also saw our fourth year of consistent funding for the Alzheimer’s Association Brain Bus to continue our statewide efforts. In 2019, we received funding from the Florida Legislature to buy another vehicle and expand our Brain Bus program statewide.
The Brain Bus is a tremendous resource that is special to Florida. We are the only state to have a mobile outreach initiative that travels the state providing information, resources and support. In the 2021/2022 fiscal year, the two vehicles served more than 7,500 Floridians through in-person and virtual stops.
None of these priorities would be possible without the efforts of our advocates. In 2022, you continued to share your stories and advocate for these critical issues. Here is a look at all the actions you took to advance our state priorities in 2022.
Congress Continues Commitment to Addressing Alzheimer’s
We are grateful for the legislative victories on the federal level that occurred at the end of 2022. Members of Congress voted on the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) omnibus budget and it was signed into law by the President. We are indebted to our incredible advocates who are the reason Congress continues to prioritize Alzheimer’s. It was wonderful being back in Washington, DC in 2022 for the first in-person the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum since the pandemic. We had over 38 Florida advocates in attendance. The omnibus bill includes provisions of the bipartisan Equity in Neuroscience and Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials (ENACT) Act (S. 1548 / H.R. 3085) as well as language to strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) accelerated approval pathway have been included in the FY23 budget.
We are grateful to our Florida members of congress who championed and co-sponsored these critical pieces of legislation. Once the budget is signed into law, we will see a $226 million increase in Alzheimer’s funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and $33 million to implement the BOLD Act at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To receive the latest policy updates, follow our Florida Advocacy Twitter account @AlzAdvocacyFlorida
The Sunshine State is Looking Ahead to 2023
Florida is committed to ensuring our state is dementia capable and doing all we can to provide support to those living with the disease and their care partners.
We will be kicking off our advocacy efforts Feb. 7-8 for our annual Alzheimer’s Rally in Tally. This will be our first time back in full force since the pandemic. We cannot wait for advocates to join from across the state to turn the Capitol purple, raise awareness and use their voice to advocate for critical legislation and funding.
Advocates will fight for legislation that establishes baseline dementia training standards and the creation of the first ever statewide public health awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s and other dementia. We will advocate for continued funding for the Alzheimer’s Association Brain Bus and for critical home and community-based services such as the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI) and the Community Care for the Elderly (CCE) program.
Help Us Shine a Light on Alzheimer’s and Other Dementia.
Join us on Feb. 7-8 in Tallahassee. You can learn more about this inspiring event by visiting https://p2a.co/n6swvt2.
To learn more about our advocacy program and to sign up to become an advocate, please visit https://alzimpact.org/volunteer.