Letter: Change inhumane policy that blocks treatment for those with dementia

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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To the editor:

As a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Association, I advocate for all people with dementia, but especially for my mom, Barb Bruns, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 57.

Thanks to our bipartisan champions in Congress, we’ve made great progress advancing research on Alzheimer’s and dementia, providing hope to families with this terrible disease. And now with FDA approval of Alzheimer’s treatments which slow its progression at an early stage, our hopes have been lifted even higher.

However, CMS, the agency that runs Medicare, has a policy that only applies to those with Alzheimer’s disease, and is blocking access to these and future treatments. This is unjustified, harmful and unfair, especially since the VA is now covering it. This needs to change now.

I am calling on my senator, Tina Smith, to tell CMS to change this inhumane policy, and I hope that our other elected leaders from Minnesota and elsewhere will join her.


Delays are unacceptable. Every day without access to FDA-approved drugs, more than 2,000 people transition to a more advanced stage of Alzheimer’s where they are no longer eligible for treatment. This class of treatments has been clearly proven to delay progression, extending time in the early stage of Alzheimer's when individuals can still participate in daily life, remain independent, and make future health care decisions.

Please don’t allow people living with dementia, and their families, to be treated like this. My family and I deserve better and need your support.

Dana Lietzau
Gibbon, MN

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