Alzheimer’s Association Launches Referral Program

The Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter launched its Direct Connect Referral Program. This free service is designed to work with physicians and other health care professionals to ensure individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias receive the appropriate care and resources needed to improve their quality of life.

Physicians and health care professionals at 75 medical centers and hospitals throughout the 49 counties in central and western North Carolina served by this chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association now have an opportunity to participate in the program.

Currently, only 33 percent of seniors age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease are aware of their diagnosis. Studies have found that one of the reasons physicians do not diagnose Alzheimer’s — or do not disclose a diagnosis — is a lack of time and resources to provide care planning.

Care planning has many benefits for the patient and their family, including:

  • Allows newly diagnosed individuals and their caregivers to learn about medical and non-medical treatments, clinical trials and support services available in the community — resulting in a higher quality of life for those living with the disease.
  • Leads to fewer hospitalizations and emergency room visits, and better medication management.
  • Contributes to better management of other conditions that can be complicated by Alzheimer’s.

A new Medicare billing code – G0505 – now allows clinicians to be reimbursed for providing care planning to cognitively impaired individuals. In using this code as part of the Direct Connect Referral Program, clinicians will have the time and resources to provide a comprehensive set of care planning services to people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers. All that is involved is completing a one-page, HIPAA compliant form and faxing or scanning it to the Alzheimer’s Association – Western Carolina Chapter office.

Physicians and health care professionals interested in learning more about this program should contact Redia Baxter, Community Outreach & Education Manager at rbaxter@alz.org or call 980-498-7732.

 
 

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