POLITICAL ACTION: Connecticut Governor signs Lyme doc protection bill
Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has signed a bill protecting doctors who prescribe long-term antibiotics for Lyme disease.
Governor M. Jodi Rell said Sunday she has signed a bill allowing doctors to prescribe long-term antibiotics in the treatment of persistent Lyme disease – outside of standard guidelines – without fear of sanctions from state health regulators if the patient’s clinical diagnosis of the tick-borne disease and treatment have been documented by a licensed physician.
Read the article from the Ridgefield Press.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Maggie Shaw, Newtown Lyme Disease Task Force,
Pat Smith, President, Lyme Disease Association, Inc. Lymeliter@aol. com
http://www.LymeDise aseAssociation. org/
CONNECTICUT DOCTOR PROTECTION BILL FOR LYME SIGNED BY
JUNE 21, 2009 – Patient groups across Connecticut and the nation are
elated by the June 21 announcement by Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell
that she has signed the doctor protection bill, following
its recent unanimous passage in both houses of the Connecticut General
HB 6200 contains language that will protect Connecticut licensed Lyme
treating physicians from prosecution by the State of Connecticut Medical
Examining Board solely on the basis of a and /or for
treatment of long-term Lyme disease. The bill provides the definition
for Lyme disease which includes "the presence in a patient of signs and
symptoms compatible with acute infection with Borrelia burgdorferi; or
with late stage or persistent or chronic infection with Borrelia
burgdorferi, or with complications related to such an infection." It
also defines clinical diagnosis as determined by a physician "…that is
based on knowledge obtained through the medical history and physical
examination alone, or in conjunction with the testing that provides
supportive data for such clinical diagnosis." In addition, it provides
for updating the Lyme disease definition if other strains are found to
cause Lyme disease.
This law resulted from months of negotiations between Legislative
Leaders, the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the undersigned
patient Groups. According to Maggie Shaw, Newtown Lyme Disease Task
Force, who has been a leader in the Connecticut effort, "This law will
be a relief to the families in CT who will finally be able to receive
care in their own communities and their own state. One of the burdens
of Lyme disease, finding treatment, will be lifted from their shoulders,
as this law offers hope to residents that more physicians who are
knowledgeable about Lyme disease will be encouraged to practice within
the State of Connecticut. "
Pat Smith, president of the national Lyme Disease Association, who has
been working and meeting with legislators in Hartford to secure passage,
commented on the new law: "Justice has been served. Human health has
finally triumphed over vested interest in the Lyme capital of the
world. Lyme patients and treating physicians in Connecticut can breathe
a collective sigh of relief. For years, they have not only been battling
the disease but also battling the politics which have prevented patients
from getting treatment and physicians from treating. Governor Rell and
the Legislature have come down on the side of the people."
The Groups extend their gratitude to Governor Jodi Rell and the General
Assembly, and in particular, Representatives Jason Bartlett, Kim
Fawcett, Chris Lyddy, and Peggy Reeves, and Senator Jonathan Harris and
Representative Betsy Ritter, Co-Chairs of the Joint Public Health
Committee. The support of patients, families, members of the Lyme
community, the Connecticut Medical Society, Association of American
Physicians and Surgeons, and the International Lyme & Associated
Diseases Society was invaluable.
Connecticut becomes the third state in the nation to have a law that
protects physicians who treat Lyme disease long term.
For wording on the bill, please go to http://www.cga. ct.gov/ HB6200
(File # 903)
Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
Newtown Lyme Disease Task Force
Ridgefield Lyme Disease Task Force
Time For Lyme, Inc.
Lyme Disease Association, Eastern Connecticut Chapter