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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Gov. Ron DeSantis is directing the state Department of Health to add Alzheimer’s disease and related types of dementia as a priority in the State Health Improvement Plan.

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DeSantis made the announcement Thursday night at the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in Palm Beach County.

An estimated 560,000 people have Alzheimer’s disease in the state.

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That figure is projected to increase by nearly 29 percent by 2025. Alzheimer’s disease is the No. 6 cause of death in Florida. It is the only top-10 leading cause of death in the state that has not been included in the improvement plan, which spells out goals for the public health system.

In addition to directing the department to include Alzheimer’s in the plan, DeSantis also directed the agency to apply to be a Center of Excellence under what is known as the Federal BOLD Act.

That 2018 law authorizes $20 million annually over five years to, among other things, help educate the public about the disease.

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