RALEIGH — People diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease now have a free way to find the medical care they need.
The Alzheimer’s Association — Eastern North Carolina Chapter recently announced the launch of its Direct Connect Referral Program. This free service is designed to work together with physicians and other health-care professionals to ensure that individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias receive the appropriate care and resources needed to improve their quality of life.
Developed in order to help provide a holistic approach to patient care, this program is the first of its kind in the Alzheimer’s community in all 51 Eastern North Carolina counties for which the Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter serves. Physicians and health-care professionals at clinic offices, medical centers and hospitals throughout these 51 counties 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. However, a disclosed diagnosis is necessary to implement care planning, a crucial element in improving outcomes for the individual.
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.
The Medicare billing code — known as 99483 — introduced in 2018, allows clinicians to be reimbursed for providing care planning to cognitively impaired individuals. In using this code along with the Association’s 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.
“We are thrilled about launching our new Direct Connect Referral Program, which provides an easy way to connect a doctor’s patients with our organization’s care and support services,” said Lisa Roberts, executive director of the Eastern North Carolina Chapter. “We are deeply committed to supporting the family of people on their journey of diagnosis and treatment, while also adding value to the efforts of physicians’ offices. Our Direct Connect Referral Program is a win-win resource for all.”
Physicians and health-care professionals interested in learning more about this program should contact Peggy Best at email@example.com or at 919-241-5928.