HB 1422 to create a state Dementia Care Specialist Program passes out of committee as volunteer advocates from across the state speak with legislators

INDIANAPOLIS – Dozens of volunteer advocates from across Indiana attended the 2023 Alzheimer’s Association State Advocacy Day at the Indiana Statehouse Tuesday – at the same time that the Association’s top priority, House Bill 1422, passed its first hurdle.

House Bill 1422, authored by Rep. Gregory Porter (D-Indianapolis), Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond), and Rep. Martin Carbaugh (R-Fort Wayne), passed 15-0 in the House Committee on Public Health.

The bill would establish a Dementia Care Specialist Program, directing each of the state’s Area Agencies on Aging to create full-time positions that will bring dementia expertise to local communities. Dementia Care Specialists would provide community education and help connect caregivers with resources. These services can help individuals stay in their homes and remain active in their communities longer. The program would cost about $1.5 million a year over two years. A similar program in North Dakota resulted in more than $39 million in long-term savings.

David Sklar

“We are pleased that this bill has cleared its first legislative hurdle with unanimous, bipartisan
support,” said David Sklar, director of government affairs, Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter. “That it coincided with our Advocacy Day was icing on the cake. Our volunteers had great conversations with legislators in both parties – and both chambers – about the need to make Indiana a more dementia-capable state, reduce long-term costs, and better support all those affected.”

Speakers at the Advocacy Day event included Governor Eric Holcomb and Darlene Bradley, a Hancock County woman who is living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

HB 1422 will now move on to the House Ways and Means committee.