On Nov. 17, Governor Corbett held a ceremonial signing of Senate Bill #177, The Lyme and Related Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance, Education, Prevention Act. The bill includes the first tick surveillance program in Pennsylvania, educational access for affected school children, a prevention focus in the schools regarding children’s tick bites on school property, and a new task force to provide recommendations to enhance prevention, educate doctors on current research on these emerging diseases, improve the patient experience, and provide access to more appropriate care in PA.
The history of bill passage in PA goes back eleven years to introduction of bills that would have provided funds for education, prevention, and treatment and doctor protection and later for mandatory insurance coverage. The LDA testified many times in PA on the various bill iterations. This latest effort was led by Julia Wagner, President, PA Lyme Resource Network (LDA is a member of that organization) and aided by Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, an LDA affiliate. All involved deserve kudos for their work for Lyme patients.
Pictured in the first row from left are: Peter Wagner, Senator Stewart Greenleaf (Sponsor of the Senate bill), Governor Tom Corbett, Representative Matt Baker (Sponsor of the House bill), Sean Robinson, Lisa Gaffney, Josie Gaffney, and Kelly Locy. Second row from left: Sarah Wagner, Eric Pauley (Executive Assistant, Senator Greenleaf’s office), Julia Wagner (President PA Lyme Resource Network), Doug Fearn of West Chester (President Lyme Disease Association of SE PA), Heidi Healy, Nicole Sidle (PA House Health Committee), Elizabeth Yarnell (Legislative Analyst Human Services Committee, PA House), Amy Tiehel (Board of PALRN and Region Leader Delaware County Lyme Support Group), Linda Olley, RN, Chad, Katie, and Kim Robinson, Bob Holtzman.