Health Commissioner Zucker Encourages Health Care Providers to Play Larger Role with Alzheimer's

In a recent letter, health care personnel were urged to play their part in the early detection/diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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Albany, NY - December 12, 2016 - New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., appealed to health care providers in a recent letter regarding the state’s efforts to support those with Alzheimer’s and dementia and “strongly urge[d] health care personnel to play their part in the early detection/diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.” The communication was part of the health department's efforts to implement The Healthy Brain Initiative: The Public Health Road Map for State and National Partnerships, 2013-2018.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that attacks the brain, killing nerve cells and tissue, and affects an individual’s ability to remember, think and plan. Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease. There is no treatment or cure, and it is fatal.

“We applaud Commissioner Zucker for his support of the 390,000 New Yorkers with Alzheimer’s and dementia and his efforts to encourage health care providers to seek an active role in their care,” said Douglas Davidson. “Early detection and diagnosis are pivotal to helping those with Alzheimer’s, and health care providers are key partners in this effort.”

Researchers believe that the early detection of Alzheimer’s will be key to preventing, slowing and stopping the disease. Diagnosing Alzheimer’s requires a careful and comprehensive medical evaluation, often with the help of a neurologist (2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association). The benefits of early detection include increased treatment options and access to information, services and support; advance planning for health, housing, finances, care and risk reduction; and better overall health outcomes.

This is especially important, as 11 percent of New Yorkers aged 45 and older report that they are experiencing confusion or memory loss, and more than half of them have not discussed it with their health care professionals (2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System).

In support of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their caregivers, New York implemented a $25 million Alzheimer’s Disease Support Initiative in 2015, the first of its kind in the nation.

Components of this initiative include 10 regional caregiver supportive projects across the state, 10 Centers of Excellence for Alzheimer’s Disease and the Alzheimer’s Disease Community Assistance Program (AlzCAP).

The Coalition of New York State Alzheimer’s Association Chapters coordinates AlzCAP, the first and most robust statewide initiative of its kind, to ensure that New Yorkers receive the information, care and support that they need in their journey with Alzheimer’s. Jane Ginsburg, executive director of the Coalition, noted that “as more and more New Yorkers understand the true impact Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias have on their day-to- day lives, the more critical Alzheimer’s Association services will be to them, their family members, caregivers and other important community ‘gatekeepers.’”

By 2025, approximately 460,000 New Yorkers aged 65 or older will suffer from the disease. That’s almost an 18 percent increase from today. Alzheimer’s costs Medicaid more than $4
billion in New York each year.

Coalition of New York State Alzheimer’s Association Chapters
The Coalition of New York State Alzheimer’s Association Chapters is the only statewide organization advocating for all New Yorkers affected by Alzheimer’s disease. For more than 30 years, the Coalition’s seven New York state chapters have provided care consultations, consumer and professional education programs, a 24-hour Helpline, safety services and support groups. Together with our statewide network of Association chapters, the Coalition strives to create a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit

Alzheimer’s Association
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. It is the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Its vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. Visit or call 1-800- 272-3900.