POLITICAL ACTION: CALDA president urges support of Minnesota Lyme doctor protection bill
In a letter printed in the December 2009 issue of "Minnesota Medicine," published by the Minnesota Medical Association, CALDA president Phyllis Mervine urges passages of proposed doctor protection legislation in that state.
The following letter by CALDA president Phyllis Mervine has been published in Minnesota Medicine.
Don’t Deny Treatment
Thank you for your balanced and informative article “In the Lyme Light.” It is curious to see the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice opposing Senator Marty’s doctor protection bill on the grounds that it attempts to legislate a standard of care.
One would think that physicians might resent the interference of a small group of researchers who in effect dictate the standard of care for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and enforce compliance through state medical board disciplinary actions and health insurance denials. One would think that a professional doctors’ society might have serious reservations about guidelines that severely limit doctors’ clinical discretion from an organization that was subjected to the first-ever antitrust investigation by a state attorney general, who found serious procedural flaws and conflicts of interest among most of the guideline panel members.
One would think that doctors everywhere would question guidelines that result in treatment failure for more than half of patients.
The people of Minnesota deserve better. The Marty bill does not legislate a standard of care. In fact, it does the opposite. There are two standards of care for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, and the Marty bill allows physicians clinical discretion to choose the standard they believe best serves the individual patient.
In July I was invited to Minnesota by patient activists who hope to pass the Marty bill. In Forest Lake, I met with more than one hundred patients with chronic Lyme disease. Many were disabled and in wheelchairs. It is inhumane to deny treatment—as the IDSA guidelines do—when there are no other effective alternatives. Patients should be allowed to choose the treatment they and their doctors decide is best for them. This is what the Marty bill will do for the people of Minnesota. I urge you to support it.
California Lyme Disease Association