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CS/CS/HB 709 — Alzheimer’s Disease

by Health and Human Services Committee; Health Quality Subcommittee; and Rep. Hudson and others (CS/CS/SB 872 by Appropriations Committee; Health Policy Committee; and Senators Richter and Soto)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Health Policy Committee (HP)

The bill makes a number of changes related to Alzheimer’s disease to implement recommendations of the Purple Ribbon Task Force which was created by the Legislature in 2012.

The bill requires the Division of Emergency Management (DEM) to develop a special needs shelter registration program by January 1, 2015, and to fully implement the program by March 1, 2015. The effect is to shift primary responsibility for maintaining a registry from the local emergency management agencies to the DEM, working in coordination with the local agencies. The bill directs the DEM to develop a uniform electronic registration form and database, as a minimum component of the registration program, which the local agencies can use to upload registration information they receive. The bill adds memory disorder clinics and aging and disability resource centers to the existing list of providers and agencies that are required to provide information and assistance to individuals with special needs and their caregivers regarding special needs shelter registration, and to register their clients annually. The bill authorizes, but does not require, licensed physicians and pharmacies to provide these same services.

The bill requires county health departments to staff special needs shelters with a person who is familiar with the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and requires that all special needs shelters establish sheltering areas for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

The bill creates the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program (Moore program) to fund research for the prevention and cure of Alzheimer’s disease. Long-term goals of the Moore program are to: 

  • Enhance the health of Floridians by researching improved prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Expand the foundation of knowledge relating to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure of Alzheimer’s disease; and
  • Stimulate activity in the state related to Alzheimer’s disease research.

Moore program grants and fellowships will be awarded by the State Surgeon General on the basis of scientific merit. Funding applications may be submitted from any university or established research institute in the state, and qualified investigators, regardless of institution, will have equal access to competitive funding. Implementation of the program is contingent upon a legislative appropriation. The 2014 Legislature approved $3 million to fund the program as part of the General Appropriations Act.

The bill also creates the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board, which is an 11-member board of clinical professionals, to advise the State Surgeon General. The board must submit a fiscal year progress report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the State Surgeon General annually that includes: 

  • A list of funded projects;
  • A list of funded researchers;
  • A list of publications in peer-reviewed journals involving research supported by grants or fellowships awarded under the Moore program;
  • The state ranking and total amount of Alzheimer’s disease research funding received from the National Institutes of Health;
  • New grants for Alzheimer’s disease research which were based on research funded by the Moore program;
  • Progress toward the goals of the Moore program; and,
  • Recommendations to further the mission of the Moore program.

Finally, the bill requires the Department of Elder Affairs to develop performance standards for memory disorders clinics and to condition contract funding on compliance with the standards. The bill also renames the memory disorder clinic in Brevard County.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2014.

Vote: Senate 38-0; House 113-0