July 2013

Bipartisan Bill Exempting FDA User Fees from Sequestration Introduced in House

The impact of sequestration on US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been heavy, taking $209 million (about 5%) of the agency’s appropriated budget in FY13, with $85 million coming from fees paid entirely by industry for more efficient approval processes of safe and effective drugs and devices. The fees, negotiated between the agency and respective industries, are intended to provide FDA with the ability to better review products, and speed treatments to patients. Withholding them from the agency, deals a devastating blow to its ability to implement enhancements that were included in the user fee reauthorization legislation, recruit top talent, and bring treatments to those in need.

In response, Representative Eshoo (D-CA) and a number of colleagues have introduced The FDA Safety Over Sequestration Act–or FDA SOS Act (H.R. 2725). The bill would allow the FDA to receive its regular stream of user fees despite sequestration. Fellow House Energy and Commerce Committee members Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Doris Matsui (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) have signed on as co-sponsors for the bill.

With bipartisan support, H.R. 2725 seeks to protect FDA user fees from any future across-the-board spending cuts due to sequestration. The Senate is anticipated to introduce similar legislation later this month, and if the last user fee re-authorization vote of 92-4 was any indicator, it shouldn’t be too contentious.

To read Rep. Eshoo’s statement on the bill, click here.

To read the full bill, click here.

National Institute on Aging Debuts Database for Cognitive Impairment Screening Tools

Evaluating the cognitive status of older patients in the primary care setting is one of the first steps in determining the cause of problems with memory, attention, and other aspects of thinking that can affect their health and well-being. With dozens of instruments available, finding the right ones to use can be a challenge. Now, clinicians and researchers have a new and simple way to find appropriate instruments—through a searchable database from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health.

The database, available at www.nia.nih.gov/research/cognitive-instrument, contains detailed information about more than 100 published instruments for detecting Alzheimer’s disease and other types of cognitive impairment. It was created by NIA staff in consultation with experts in the field. Many instruments are suitable for outpatient practices and community studies. Each instrument in the database was developed as a cognitive assessment for age-related dementia and has had at least three published studies using the instrument since its debut and at least one publication in the last 10 years.

Users can search the database by specific criteria, such as time to administer the instrument, the administrator’s level of expertise, cost, and target diagnosis. They can also find instruments that have been evaluated in specific populations and translated into languages other than English. Each instrument is summarized, with references cited and linked for easy access.

To learn more and search NIA’s cognitive instruments database, click here.

AFA Accepting Nominations for 2013 Dementia Care Professional of the Year Award

Dementia Care Professionals of America (DCPA), a division of ACT-AD Member Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), offers membership, training, qualification and other benefits to dementia care professionals. They seek to raise the bar on care and set standards of excellence through DCPA’s unique training and qualification programs.

DCPA identifies exceptional individuals serving the dementia community and celebrates their accomplishments by presenting the Dementia Care Professional of the Year Award. These are the people who are making a difference in their community, the individuals who are changing the field of practice for the better, and the ones who are willing to go above and beyond for clients in need. They define care, compassion and commitment.

DCPA award this distinction annually to a deserving individual. Nominees do not need to be DCPA members and they do not need to be affiliated in any way with AFA or its member organizations. Past winners include a horticultural therapist, an LPN and a certified elder crime practitioner, all of whom truly define care, compassion and commitment in the dementia care community.

Visit www.careprofessionals.org/dcp_of_the_year_award/ to complete a nomination form.  Individuals may be nominated by more than one person, and the deadline for nominations is September 1.

To read about 2012 award winner, Gwenn Fried, manager of the NYU Langone Medical Center Rusk Rehabilitation Horticultural Therapy Services, click here.

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America to Host 11th Annual National Memory Screening Day

In honor of National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, an ACT-AD member, is sponsoring its 11th annual National Memory Screening Day. On November 19, 2013 community sites nationwide will offer free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to the public.

During the National Memory Screening Day, five to ten minute face-to-face screenings are administered by qualified healthcare professionals (i.e., physicians, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists). Screening sites include Alzheimer’s agencies, assisted living residences, long-term care facilities, doctors’ offices, hospitals, senior centers, YMCA’s, pharmacies and other local venues.

In 2012, an estimated 85,000 people participated at more than 2,300 community sites nationwide. To assist in this year’s National Memory Screening Day you can host a screening site, offer to be a screener, encourage people with memory concerns to be screened, or spread the word.

For more information visit www.nationalmemoryscreening.org, or call 866-232-8484.