Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) Model

On July 1, 2024, CMS launched the GUIDE Model. On July 8, 2024, CMS announced the 390 organizations participating in the model and published a blog post and the GUIDE Participant List (XLSX). Please visit the linked pages for additional information.

The Guiding an Improved Dementia Experience (GUIDE) Model is a voluntary nationwide model test that aims to support people with dementia and their unpaid caregivers. The model began on July 1, 2024, and will run for eight years.

Model Overview  

The GUIDE Model focuses on comprehensive, coordinated dementia care and aims to improve quality of life for people with dementia, reduce strain on their unpaid caregivers, and enable people with dementia to remain in their homes and communities. It will achieve these goals through Medicare payments for a comprehensive package of care coordination and care management, caregiver education and support, and respite services.

GUIDE delivers on the Biden Administration’s April 2023 Executive Order 14095 on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, which directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “consider whether to select for testing by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation an innovative new health care payment and service delivery model focused on dementia care that would include family caregiver supports such as respite care.” 

It also advances key goals of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease, which was established through the bipartisan National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) and has, for over a decade, accelerated federal actions to optimize the quality of care for people with dementia and their caregivers while advancing research towards a cure. The GUIDE Model builds off of this extensive coordination within HHS and major input from various external stakeholders. 


  • Dementia affects more than 6.7 million Americans in 2023, with 14 million projected cases by 2060. 
  • People with dementia often have multiple chronic conditions and receive fragmented care, leading to high rates of hospitalization and emergency department visits. They also may have behavioral health symptoms and often need 24/7 care. The challenges of managing health care, providing constant support, and dealing with the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia can present a significant mental, physical, emotional, and financial burden for caregivers and disproportionately impact Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander populations.
  • The GUIDE Model will sets a standard approach to care, including 24/7 access to a support line, as well as caregiver training, education, and support services. This standard approach will allow people with dementia to remain safely in their homes for longer by preventing or delaying nursing home placement and improve quality of life for both people  with dementia and their unpaid caregivers.  
  • To reduce disparities in access to dementia care services, the GUIDE Model incorporates policies to enhance health equity by ensuring that underserved communities have equal access to the model intervention.


Model Purpose

Despite its prevalence, many people with dementia do not consistently receive high-quality, coordinated care. As a result, they experience poor outcomes, including high rates of hospitalization, emergency department visits, and post-acute care utilization. They also experience high rates of depression, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, and poor management of other co-occurring conditions.

Dementia also significantly impacts the family and other unpaid caregivers, who often provide significant amounts of assistance with personal care, finance, household and medication management, clinical coordination, and other care. Many caregivers for people with dementia, who are often Medicare beneficiaries themselves, report high levels of stress and depression, which negatively affect their overall health and increase their risk for serious illness, hospitalization, and mortality. 

Through the GUIDE Model, CMS is testing an alternative payment methodology for participants that deliver comprehensive, coordinated dementia care. Under the model, participants will assign people with dementia and their caregivers to a Care Navigator who will help them access GUIDE services and supports, and non-GUIDE services and supports including clinical services and non-clinical services such as meals and transportation through community-based organizations.

The GUIDE Model will also enhance access to the support and resources that caregivers need. Unpaid caregivers will be connected to evidence-based education and support, such as training programs on best practices for caring for a loved one with dementia. Model participants will also help caregivers access respite services, which enable them to take temporary breaks from their caregiving responsibilities.

When used over time, respite services have been found to help unpaid caregivers continue to care for their loved one at home, preventing or delaying the need for facility care. The model is also designed to reduce Medicare and Medicaid expenditures primarily by helping people with dementia to remain at home, and reducing hospitalization, emergency department use, the need for post-acute care as well as long-term nursing home care. 

Select anywhere on the map below to view the interactive version
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Two patient journeys; one depicting the current experience of an individual living with dementia and the other showing the anticipated future experience after the model's interventions.

Model Design

Participants in the GUIDE Model are Medicare Part B enrolled providers/suppliers and will establish dementia care programs (DCPs) that provide ongoing, longitudinal care and support to people with dementia through an interdisciplinary team.

If the participant can’t meet the GUIDE care delivery requirements alone, they have the ability to contract with other Medicare providers/suppliers to meet the care delivery requirements. These contracted providers/suppliers will be known as “Partner Organizations.”

The eight-year model has two tracks: one for established programs and one for new programs. Established programs have prior experience serving the dementia population and delivering most GUIDE care delivery requirements, and they began delivering GUIDE services on July 1, 2024. New programs have a one-year pre-implementation period to establish their programs that began on July 1, 2024, and ends on June 30, 2025. New programs will begin delivering GUIDE services on July 1, 2025. CMS will support model participation for these organizations by providing technical assistance and learning support as well as a pre-implementation year to prepare for model participation.

The GUIDE Model aims to address the key drivers of poor-quality dementia care in five ways:

  1. Defining a standardized approach to dementia care delivery for model participants – this includes staffing considerations, services for people with dementia and their unpaid caregivers, and quality standards.
  2. Providing an alternative payment methodology to model participants – CMS provides a monthly per-beneficiary payment to support a team-based collaborative care approach.
  3. Addressing unpaid caregiver needs – the model aims to address the burden experienced by unpaid caregivers by requiring model participants to provide caregiver training and support services, including 24/7 access to a support line, as well as connections to community-based providers. 
  4. Respite services – CMS pays model participants for respite services, which are temporary services provided to a beneficiary in their home, at an adult day center, or at a facility that can provide 24-hour care for the purpose of giving the unpaid caregiver  temporary breaks from their caregiving responsibilities. 
  5. Screening for Health-Related Social Needs – model participants are required to screen beneficiaries for psychosocial needs and health-related social needs (HRSNs) and help navigate them to local, community-based organizations to address these needs.

Health Equity Strategy

Delivering equitable care and addressing health disparities in dementia are crucial aspects of the GUIDE Model. 

Dementia imposes significant financial, emotional, and logistical burdens on families, which are often exacerbated for certain racial and ethnic groups. Black and Hispanic populations have a higher prevalence of dementia, but they also are less likely to receive a timely diagnosis, have more unmet needs, are more likely to experience high caregiving demands, and spend a higher share of their family assets on dementia care. 

CMS actively sought out eligible organizations that provide care to underserved communities for participation in the GUIDE Model. The GUIDE Model offers a variety of financial and technical supports to ensure that participating safety-net providers can develop their infrastructure, improve their care delivery capabilities, and participate successfully in the model.   

GUIDE also includes a focus on people with dementia who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and, as with other people supported by the model, help them to remain safely in their homes for longer. 

Aspects of GUIDE designed to improve health equity include:

  • Requiring participating providers to implement HRSN screenings and referrals. 
  • Offering financial and technical support for development of new dementia care programs targeted to underserved areas with less access to specialty dementia care.
  • Annual reporting by participants on progress towards health equity objectives, strategies, and targets.
  • Using data from the model to identify disparities and target improvement activities.
  • A health equity adjustment to the model’s monthly care management payment to provide additional resources to care for underserved beneficiaries.


Past Events

Additional Information

Model Background Resources

Technical Resources


If you are interested in receiving additional information, updates or have questions about the GUIDE Model, please see the resources below:

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