CMS Innovation Center, HHS release new dementia care model

The federal government is seeking to improve quality of life for both people with dementia and their caregivers through a new model called Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience, or GUIDE.

Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the model is meant to help people with dementia remain in their homes, thanks to “care coordination and management, caregiving education and support, and respite services,” according to a news release.

“HHS continues to innovate to help Americans living with dementia and their unpaid caregivers. Our new GUIDE Model has the potential to improve the quality of life for people with dementia and alleviate the significant strain on our families,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement. “We are proud to take these steps to deliver on the President’s promise to increase care coordination and improve access to services and supports for our families.”   

The GUIDE model fulfills an objective from President Biden’s executive order from April, as well as elements from a long-term plan to end Alzheimer’s. Under the model, CMS will test an alternative payment for participants with dementia and their caregivers, and they will have access to a care navigator that will provide additional services like meals and transportation.

Participants will establish dementia care programs (DCPs) through an interdisciplinary team. All participants will be enrolled in Medicare Part B, other than durable medical equipment (DME) and laboratory suppliers.

A stated goal from CMS in this plan is to recruit organizations not currently offering comprehensive dementia care.

“While we have made tremendous progress in improving care for people with dementia through the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, people living with dementia and their caregivers too often struggle to manage their health care and connect with key supports that can allow them to remain in their homes and communities,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure in a statement. “Fragmented care contributes to the mental and physical health strain of caring for someone with dementia, as well as the substantial financial burden. We know that Black, Hispanic, and Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations have been particularly disadvantaged in receiving dementia care. The GUIDE model will provide new resources and greater access to specialty dementia care in underserved populations and communities.”

The two agencies hope the GUIDE model will connect the clinical health system with providers, and allow caregivers the chance to take temporary breaks, or respite, from their responsibilities.

CMS will release the GUIDE application in the fall, but organizations can submit letters of intent by September 15. The model will run for eight years beginning July 1. One track will include established programs while another track will be for new programs.

Applicants can contract with other Medicare providers and suppliers to meet necessary care delivery requirements.