BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis discussed the millions of dollars set aside in the upcoming state budget for Alzheimer’s research on Thursday before signing a bill that focuses on education about the disease into law.
DeSantis spoke about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia at a news conference at Broward Health Sports Medicine in Fort Lauderdale.
“The funding that we’ll have, that’s in the budget effective July 1, an additional $12 million for the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative program, so that’s a total of $52.3 million (since 2019), so that’s a significant increase over last year, and then another $9 million for Community Care for the Elderly Program which is total funding at $91.7 million for dependent seniors,” DeSantis said. “...And so we want to help those living with Alzheimer’s, but we also would like to play a part in helping with research and treatment so that we can eventually take care of this much better than we’ve been able to do over these many, many years.”
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DeSantis signed the “Ramping up Education of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia for You Act,” aka “READY Act,” which primarily directs the Florida Department of Health to educate certain health care practitioners on the topic of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
The two-page law, which you can read here, applies to practitioners licensed under chapters 458, 459 and 464 of state statute.
“Education is one of the best ways that we can detect this disease early and address the symptoms, and so I know Rep. (Michelle) Salzman was able to push that for us in the House and I want to thank her for her hard work. I think it’ll make a difference,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis was joined by Michelle Branham, secretary of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, who described the newly announced Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence, a program which DeSantis said has so far received $9.5 million from the state to “connect seniors and caregivers with resources and training” and to facilitate collaboration among universities and technology companies looking for a cure.
“The Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence will build on the current infrastructure of Alzheimer’s and dementia resources by connecting the state’s memory care disorder clinics, dementia care and cure initiative task forces, the Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee and the Department of Elder Affairs’ care navigators to create a family-centered support system throughout the continuum of care,” Branham said. “While researchers and public-private partnerships forge the most direct path to prevention treatment, and ultimately a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the creation of the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence helps Florida families now, with early detection, early diagnosis and critical care planning, support and resources.”
The provisions in the “READY Act” will go into effect July 1.