State Laws/Policies/Reg – Prior to 2008

State Laws/Policies/Regulations Enacted

Rhode Island
Rhode Island Diagnosis & Treatment Act
Doctor Protection Legislation Adopted
CHAPTER 159, 2002-H 7996A. Enacted 06/25/2002. Introduced By: Representatives Rabideau, and Ginaitt.

Rhode Island, June 10, 2004
The Lyme Disease Association, Rhode Island Chapter (LDARIC), is pleased to announce that on June 8, Governor Donald Carcieri signed S2939/H7240 into law, removing the sunset provision from the 2003 Lyme insurance law. This signing makes Rhode Island the only state in the nation with mandatory coverage for long-term antibiotics for treatment of Lyme disease when ordered by a treating physician who determines it is medically necessary after a thorough review of a patient’s medical history and condition.  

In 2004, patients have already received reimbursement under the original law passed in 2003; however, the 2003 law contained a sunset provision that would have terminated the law at the end of 2003, depriving patients of much needed treatment. Recently, the RI legislature overwhelmingly passed the new law eliminating that sunset provision ─ no expiration, so patients can continue to receive coverage.

Senator Michael Damiani and Representative Raymond Gallison, Jr. were the sponsors of the legislation.

LDARIC thanks the Governor, the sponsors, all the legislators who voted for the bills and all patients and groups who helped at various stages along the way. A united effort culminated in the passage of this crucial legislation.

LDARIC asks everyone to contact the legislators and thank them.

Blue Cross Press Release:
Rhode Island is to be congratulated on the passage of its bill protecting doctors who treat Lyme disease long-term, as well as the adoption of the provision by Blue Cross of Rhode Island, which enables patients who have chronic Lyme disease receive treatment. The Governor’s Commission on Lyme Disease and Other Tick-borne Diseases is to be commended for holding two separate hearings with over 12 hours of significant and often moving testimony from physicians, advocates and patients. The Lyme Community Coalition of Rhode Island and the South Coast Lyme Action Group did a phenomenal job helping to organize the individuals who presented testimony, obtaining media coverage and lobbying legislators.
 
Blue Cross Resolution: Revised 8/22/02
Presently, Blue Cross covers up to four weeks per year of intravenous antibiotic therapy deemed medically necessary by a treating physician for certain illnesses including Lyme disease. Blue Cross agrees with and will adopt the following statement of its policy in its physician’s manual regarding testing and treatment of Lyme disease to become effective by July 1, 2002.
 
New England Governors’ Conference, Inc. Resolution:
The LDA is very excited that the New England Governor’s Conference passed Resolution 166, A Resolution of the New England Governor’s Conference, Inc. Concerning Lyme Disease & Other Tick-borne Illnesses.  Introduced by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond’s office, it was adoption certified on August 26th, 2002, and signed by Chairman Almond. Other Governors who make up the Conference are Jane Swift, MA; John G. Rowland, CT; Angus S. King, Jr., ME; Jeanne Shaheen, NH; and Howard Dean, MD, VT.

Connecticut
Public hearing on Bill 5747 (Bartlett)
February 26, 2007

Connecticut Insurance Bill
In 1999, Connecticut passed a limited Lyme disease insurance bill which states insurers must pay for 30 days of IV antibiotic treatment, 60 days or orals antibiotics. Anyone requiring longer therapy has to get second opinion approval from an infectious disease doctor, a rheumatologist, or a neurologist.


New Hampshire

  • New Hampshire Fights Back Against Lyme
  • New Hampshire Governor declares May Lyme Disease Awareness Month
  • NH Legislature Passes Resolution supporting more federal research and physician and public education in New Hampshire
  • LDA President invited to speak by Governor

New York
Victory In NY
The following memorandum (click here) was issued June 15, 2005 by OPMC Director Dennis Graziano to every staff member of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) and copied to all the members of the Board for Professional Medical Conduct and its chief counsel.


New Jersey
1992 Public Education Law
The Lyme Disease Association of New Jersey, now LDA, was successful in having the following laws adopted in New Jersey.

P.L. 18A 35-5.1 (1992) 
The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall develop curriculum guidelines for the teaching of information on the prevention of Lyme disease within the public school health curriculum. The guidelines shall emphasize disease prevention and sensitivity for victims of the disease. The Commissioner of Education shall periodically review and update the guidelines to insure that the curriculum reflects the most current information available.

P.L. 18A 35-5.3 (1992) 
The Commissioner of Education, in consultation with the Commissioner of Health, shall also provide curriculum guides for the training of all teachers who instruct students with Lyme which emphasizes the special needs and problems of students with the disease, in order to provide information about how best to teach those students. Each school district shall annually provide training to all teachers who instruct students with Lyme disease, based upon the guidelines.

2005 Medical Board Administrative
The NJ State Board of Medical Examiners worked with LDA to have Lyme literate physicians placed on the NJ State Board of Medical Examiners Review Board.

2006 Assembly Resolution passed
Memorializes Congress and President to enact “Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2005.”


California
California Governor signed AB 592 into law on September 22, 2005
This law added the doctors treating of Lyme disease to an existing California law that does not allow physicians to be disciplined solely for alternative or complementary treatment. California Lyme Disease Association (CALDA), an affiliate of the LDA, was instrumental in getting this law passed. The idea for the law originated from the OPMC policy memo issued in New York which expresses similar sentiments based on existing New York law.


Maryland
Thanks to All!
LDA, Maryland groups, and patients thank you for your efforts in defeating the Maryland Lyme disease bill, HB 836. It died in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee without the committee taking action, so it never went to the full senate for consideration, as was the plan. 

Pat Smith, LDA President, and Ron Hamlen, a member of the LDASEPA board and a Maryland resident, testified against the bill at the hearing, and many others submitted written testimony. Hundreds of patients and groups nationwide reacted with emails and phone calls against the bill after the sponsor testified before the committee, citing that only one group was in opposition and “fear” as the reason the patients opposed the bill. It was an awesome grassroots effort that culminated in success for patients. Special thanks to Jean F. Galbreath, President of the Harford County Lyme Disease Support Groups, Inc., an LDA affiliate, and the Lyme Disease Education and Support Groups of Maryland for leading the effort.

Do you live or work in Maryland? 
STOP HB 836 now before it STOPS your Lyme treatment!

You need to take action now. The Maryland Delegates voted for a bill that mandates the Maryland Department of Health to disseminate “latest consensus guidelines” (read IDSA) to physicians in Maryland. HB 836 is now moving to the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee for a hearing/vote on April 4. If it passes here, these guidelines may prevent Lyme patients from getting further treatment and those just bitten from getting a diagnosis. Stop it now while you can. Contact the Senate Committee members TODAY; don’t wait!!

LDA’s Maryland Senate Testimony Against Bill – April 4, 2007

National Lyme Disease Association Photo_2007_005.jpg (17743 bytes) President Addresses Maryland House of Delegates Rural Caucus
Focus on research and help for Maryland patients who cannot get diagnosed & treated

Annapolis, March 8—In a presentation before the Maryland House Rural Caucus, 40 delegates heard the President of the national Lyme Disease Association (LDA) provide an overview of Lyme disease, types of research being carried out on the disease in Maryland, and examples of why Maryland patients often cannot get diagnosed or treated.

 

 


Maine
Maine LD 1521 Hearing in Insurance & Finance Committee April 10, 2007 
Co-Chairs, Senator Nancy Sullivan and Representative John Brautigam, Insurance and Finance Committee; and Senator Bruce Bryant, Bill Sponsor. Packed room heard testimony of many residents who have experienced Lyme disease.

LDA Testimony 

Bill Language LD 1521


West Virginia

West Virginia 
HB 4568, which can be accessed at: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/ was introduced (adapted from the RI bill S2939/H7240) into the West Virginia House in 2008 and died on it’s third reading. However, it has been assigned to be a part of an interim study. 


North East Region
New England Governors’ Conference, Inc. Resolution

The LDA is very excited that the New England Governor’s Conference passed Resolution 166, A Resolution of the New England Governor’s Conference, Inc. Concerning Lyme Disease & Other Tick-borne Illnesses.  Introduced by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond’s office, it was adoption certified on August 26th, 2002, and signed by Chairman Almond. Other Governors who make up the Conference are Jane Swift, MA; John G. Rowland, CT; Angus S. King, Jr., ME; Jeanne Shaheen, NH; and Howard Dean, MD, VT.


Other State Activities

Harrisburg Testimony on Lyme Bill
Photo_2007_019.jpg (34673 bytes)On September 14, 2007, (from L ) Ron Hamlen, PhD; Dr Ann Corson; and (2nd from R) Pat Smith, LDA president; Dr. Joseph Burrascano (R) were invited to testify before the Pennsylvania House Health Committee on HB 798. The Honorable Merle Phillips (C), the bill sponsor, also spoke about the merits of the bill which will provide for protection for physicians who treat long-term and mandatory insurance coverage. Two patients also presented their compelling stories.

Reported Lyme Cases by State*
*CDC has indicated reported cases are about 10% of actual cases that meet the CDC surveillance criteria

Pennsylvania
Representative Merle Phillips (PA-R-108) introduced a bill in 2005 that passed the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives. The bill was sent to the Senate where it died in the Senate Insurance Committee at the end of the 2006 session.  The bill would have protected physicians who treat long-term for Lyme disease, required insurers to reimburse patients for treatment and would have created a special task force to develop strategies to inform the public about Lyme disease.

Picture
Photo_2006_005.jpg (33249 bytes)
Kim Uffleman (L) and Pat Smith, LDA president (R) with NJ State Assemblyman Upenda Chivukula’s Health Aide, Sheridan Balmeo in the State Capitol in Trenton, New Jersey after being invited to testify at a hearing which was arranged by the Assemblyman on Lyme disease before the Assembly Health committee.

 

Photos of Senator Christopher Dodd’s Press Conference
On Monday, July 25, 2005, Senator Christopher Dodd (CT) for himself and Senator Rick Santorum (PA) introduced into the US Senate S.1479. The “Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Prevention, Education, and Research Act of 2005” focuses on research and education but also contains an effective advisory committee that will have input into the expenditure of the monies and provide the Lyme community and its physicians a strong public voice and balanced scientific viewpoint in regard to tick-borne diseases. The committee will include a selection of doctors and scientists who support chronic Lyme disease and also patients and representatives from patient advocacy groups.
On Tuesday, July 26, 2005, Congressman Christopher Smith (NJ) introduced H.R. 3427 for himself and for Congresswoman Sue Kelly (NY) in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, DC. The Smith/Kelly Bill is the identical companion bill to the Dodd/Santorum Bill. These new bills will:

  • Increase the amount of Lyme research funding available by $100 million over 5 years.
  • Ensure mandatory research goals, better surveillance and improved prevention programs.
  • Ensure that committee is balanced & represents diversity of scientific viewpoints on issues.
  • Provide for outcomes research, including treatment studies.

Picture 
Photo_2006_013.jpg (30729 bytes)Photo_2006_007.jpg (44246 bytes)Senator Charles Schumer holds a New York press conference to support Lyme disease legislation S-1479/H-R3427. The conference was at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center in Armonk where Lyme disease research is currently taking place. The Senator was successful in getting funding several years ago for work ongoing there on tick-borne diseases.

 

 

 

 

Florida Lyme Legislation Introduced
Florida’s patient community has succeeded in having state Lyme disease legislation introduced in 2006 in Tallahassee. Companion bills HB 1013 (Homan) and SB 2022 (Wise) have now been filed and patients in partnership with doctors, advocates and constituents across the state are asking for insurance mandated coverage of long-term antibiotics and other newly-developed therapies as deemed medically necessary by the treating physician. Florida Lyme Advocacy (Lori Hoerl, Founder and Director), Life Lyme (Sandi Lanford, Founder and Director), and Pam Marks (Gulf Coast Advocate) have been instrumental in this collaborative patient effort. The national Lyme Disease Association has provided input and support throughout the process. View bills – http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/. Email Lorbell1@aol.com to find out how you can help with passage.

The legislative committee recommended a substitute study bill to replace the Lyme bill. Unfortunately, time constraints did not permit that bill to be crafted to ensure that patients and Lyme literate physicians would be on that committee to provide direct input into the study process. Therefore, the Lyme bill is dead for this session. Florida Lyme Advocacy will be working toward introduction and passage of a new Lyme bill in 2007. Contact Lorbell1@aol.com to help prepare to pass this bill next year.

Lyme Hearings In Massachusetts
The Joint Massachusetts Legislative Committee on Public Health has announced that there will be a Public Hearing on Lyme Disease beginning 10:00 am, Wednesday, October 12th in Hearing Room A-1 at the Massachusetts State House, Beacon Hill, Boston. The program will begin with testimony from an expert panel consisting of:

  • Brian Fallon, MD, MPH
  • Daniel Cameron, MD, MPH
  • Charles Ray Jones, MD
  • Patricia V. Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

    Testimony To Massachusetts Combined Health Committee
    By Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc.

Senator Schumer Seeks Federal Monies For Lyme at Press Conference
On August 12, US Senator Charles Schumer (NY) held a televised press conference in Dutchess County, New York, to promote a plan to help combat Lyme disease. Senator Schumer is seeking an additional $10 million of funding from CDC and NIH, $3million and 7 million respectively. Senator Schumer is also urging the CDC to launch an awareness campaign to educate the public to the hazards of Lyme disease.
Senator Schumer hosted a similar press conference in Westchester County on September 10, 2004 to promote his three prong strategies.
 
New York
On July 21, 2004, the OPMC Reform Bill, passed the State Senate unanimously. Passed by the Assembly a few weeks earlier, the bill now requires approval by Governor Pataki in order to become law.

For several years, the New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC) has been disproportionately investigating and prosecuting doctors who treat chronic Lyme disease.

The resulting climate of fear has caused many doctors throughout the country to refuse to treat Lyme disease.

You can:
1) Email Governor Pataki, asking him to sign the OPMC Reform bill, Bill # A4274b. Go to the following web address and scroll down a bit. You
will find a form on which to include your email message. http://161.11.3.75

2) Telephone Governor Pataki at: 518-474-8390 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              518-474-8390      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

PLEASE WRITE OR CALL IMMEDIATELY.