House sends "Silver Alert" bill to Governor

Medicaid fraud also targeted

Salem, OR - The Oregon House of Representatives approved Senate Bill 1577 on Friday, leaving only the Governor's signature before Oregon can get started on new protocols for finding persons with Alzheimer's Dementia Diseases who have gone missing. Senate Bill 1577 is a priority of the Senate Republican Caucus.

"Missing loved ones can be found quickly, if law enforcement and the community are alerted and mobilized," said Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend), sponsor of the legislation. "I believe this bill will save lives, and give families a little peace of mind in stressful situations."

Senate Bill 1577 directs law enforcement agencies to develop policies for responding to instances of missing individuals with mental impairments. New protocols will include training for officers, processes for reporting a missing senior and mechanisms for alerting the public.

Currently there are about 80,000 Oregonians with Alzheimer's, a number that is expected to climb to 110,000 by 2025.

Sixty percent of people with Alzheimer's will wander from their home. Sixty percent of Alzheimer's patients who wander, if not found within 24 hours, will suffer severe injury or death. Eighty percent if not found within 72 hours will die. A person with Alzheimer's may not remember his or her name or address, and can become disoriented, even in familiar places.

Senate Bill 1577 also contains provisions for fighting Medicaid fraud. The bill requires the Oregon Health Authority to develop cutting edge solutions to prevent and identify fraudulent activity.

"In order to provide services and emergency resources for those who are struggling, we need to take aggressive action against individuals who would seek to abuse Oregon's Medicaid system," said Knopp.

Michael Gay
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(503) 781-8559