Congressman Jimmy Duncan talks health care issues in Maryville

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Congressman Jimmy Duncan making two stops in Maryville Tuesday focusing on issues related to health care.

At the first stop he spoke with the Alzheimer’s Association and the need for more funding. The other was at DaVita Dialysis Center to talk about a bill that would expand care to medicare patients on dialysis.

“Alzheimer’s is not funded as much as cancer, HIV, other diseases, but yet it’s the most expensive disease in America,” said Karen Easter, Volunteer Ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Alzheimer’s Association said this year the disease will cost the country $259 billion, but despite that staggering number, Duncan says they have made some big strides.

“They’ve pulled off almost a miraculous thing in that they’ve just gotten a big increase in funding on Alzheimer’s research, but that’s another thing that’s affecting a lot of people,” Duncan said.

While the progress is recognized, the association and those whose families have been touched by Alzheimer’s are pushing for more.

“I think it’s important to fund Alzheimer’s research to find a cure,” Easter said.

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is Saturday, October 28, at Zoo Knoxville. To register for the event or for more information visit: act.alz.org/knoxville

Across town at DaVita Dialysis Center. they are raising awareness for more care needed for patients who require kidney dialysis.

“Dialysis patients represent one percent of Medicare, but they spend seven percent of Medicare dollars because of their co-morbidities and multiple medications, etc,” said Amanda Smith, DaVita Facility Administrator.

There is a bill that has been presented to congress called the Dialysis Patient Demonstration Act that would expand the availability of care to medicare patients receiving dialysis.

“We’ve not dealt with this particular bill yet but when the time comes I will deal with it. I did tell them that there’s almost nothing that I’ve supported since I’ve been in the Congress as strongly as I have medical research,” Duncan said.

At DaVita, they are hoping if the bill passes quality of life for their patients will change dramatically.

“When you see somebody three times a week they really become part of your family and we care about these people and we want to see them thrive,” Smith said.

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