Alzheimer’s Association Launches Direct Connect Referral Program to Healthcare Professionals in ENC

Alzheimer's NCRaleigh, N.C. – The Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter announced today the launch of its Direct Connect Referral Program.

This free service is designed to work together with physicians and other healthcare 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 healthcare 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 healthcare professionals interested in learning more about this program should contact Peggy Best at 919-241-5928.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.

Every 65 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s.

An estimated 5.8 million Americans are living with the disease, including 170,000 North Carolina residents, are living with Alzheimer’s, a number estimated to grow to as many as 14 million by year 2050.

More than 16 million family and friends, including 473,000 in North Carolina, provide unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias in the United States.

In 2018, friends and family of those with Alzheimer’s in North Carolina provided an estimated 538 million hours of unpaid care, a contribution valued at $6.8 billion.
About the Alzheimer’s Association:
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our 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. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s.

About the Alzheimer’s Association – Eastern North Carolina Chapter:

The Eastern North Carolina Chapter provides patient and family services, information and referral, education, and advocacy in 51 eastern North Carolina counties. We provide a variety of services including a 24/7 Helpline, support groups, educational programs, and MedicAlert®. We offer opportunities to get involved and to make a difference. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, or the Alzheimer’s Association, Eastern North Carolina Chapter, visit www.alz.org/nc or call 800-272-3900. For the latest news and updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Submitted by: Christine John-Fuller, Alzheimer’s Association

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