Cheers to Assemblymember Didi Barrett, this is fabulous news. It passed in the NYS Assembly 133 to 0 (7 absent)! Next is the Senate, We will need your help with this; TOGETHER WE ARE POWERFUL!
Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association, Chairperson
New Yorkers, contact your NYS senator (automatic letter writing campaign coming soon)
Legislation to Improve the Care of Lyme Disease Patients Passes Assembly
May 13, 2014
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Hudson) announced that legislation she authored that authorizes physicians to prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy to a patient with symptoms of chronic Lyme disease has passed the Assembly (A.7558-A). The legislation garnered bipartisan support and unanimously passed the chamber.
“The number of cases of Lyme and other tick borne disease has reached crisis proportions, and yet the treatment remains mired in misconception,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “Patients deserve the best course of care possible, and my bill allows doctors to prescribe vital, long-term antibiotics to their patients if they see fit without any fear of disciplinary action.”
The Hudson Valley has become the epicenter of the Lyme disease epidemic in the Northeastern United States. Patients with Lyme disease should have the same rights as those with other diseases. They must have the right to be seen and treated by the practitioner of their choice, have the right to be informed that there are differing professional judgments about the appropriate care for Lyme disease, and to participate in the choice of treatment as it pertains to their circumstance and preference. The rights of the patient hinge upon the availability of the practitioner to act in the best interest of the patient without fear of reprisal from the professional discipline system when more than one set of guidelines exists.
“Physicians should not face disciplinary actions for treating patients who show symptoms of Lyme disease but test negative,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “Lyme is an extremely complex illness to test for, and symptoms vary among patients. While it is important for healthcare providers to follow rigorously-developed evidence, it is also important to recognize that innovation and disagreement are essential to the progress of medicine.”
“Serious tick-borne illnesses continue to increase and spread in New York State with no end in sight,” said Jill Auerbach, Chairwoman of the Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association. “We applaud Assemblywoman Barrett for daring to tackle this serious medical situation for both patient and physician.”
In addition to passing legislation, Assemblymember Barrett recently authored and passed a resolution proclaiming May 2014 as Lyme Disease Awareness Month. Lyme Disease Awareness Month provides an opportunity to focus on these complex illnesses, to provide information on and raise public awareness of its causes, effects, and treatments, and to underscore important education and research efforts surrounding Lyme and tick-borne diseases.