Governor Cuomo Signs Pro-Lyme Disease Bill Into Law

Governor Cuomo Signs Pro-Lyme Disease Bill Into Law

The State of New York has gotten something right.

A new law has been passed in New York protecting Lyme doctors from persecution thanks to the New York State Legislature, strong Lyme activism under Ellen Lubarsky, NY Coalition and Chair of New York City Lyme Disease Support Group and Jill Auerbach, Chair of the Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association (along with many other Lyme support groups throughout New York State, New England and across the country,) and especially the state’s Governor Cuomo who ultimately signed the bill into law. 

It may still be true that New York is banning the only reliable diagnostic test available in this country (by Advanced Lab Services), but now they finally have a law in place that protects doctors who treat Lyme disease from extremely expensive and frivolous law suits by regulators who disagree with the increasing body of evidence that prove the existence of chronic Lyme disease and the necessity to treat the disease with longer and stronger courses of antibiotics.

What will the new law do?

According to Ellen Lubarsky:

The New York Patient Choice Bill will protect all Lyme Disease patients’ rights to work with the physicians of their choice to receive the treatment of their choice.

This legislation also would allow practitioners to act in the best interest of the patient without fear of punishment from the professional disciplinary system which is having a chilling effect upon physicians’ ability to treat their patients.

For those who believe that Lyme doctors are “quacks” – and certainly there may be some who prey on the desperately ill.  This law will not  protect those doctors that act negligently.

Most of the New York physicians who specialize in treating tick borne disease patients and who, at times, prescribe antibiotics beyond the 2-4 weeks recommended by the IDSA, have been investigated by the NYS Dept. of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC). In many cases there have been multiple investigations. 

These investigations cost these physicians tens of thousands of dollars for attorneys’ fees and time away from patient care, when in almost all cases there has been no wrongdoing. As one physician explains it: “Just defending oneself at the ‘investigation’ phase is extremely stressful, financially and emotionally draining.”

It is easy to understand why many physicians are reluctant to treat seriously ill Lyme patients, especially when there is such conflict about diagnosis and treatment. These are the LYME WARS that have such dire consequences to patients’ access to the treatment of their choice. 

In spite of the fact that more than one evidence-based standard of care exists and patients should have the right to participate in the decision making process when it comes to their own care, NYS taxpayer monies are being used to disproportionately investigate one group of medical professionals, thereby threatening patients’ access to the medical providers and treatments of their choice. Ticks do not discriminate; you, your loved ones, or your child could be next. 

To read the bill that was signed into law: http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=&bn=A07558&term=2013&Summary=Y&Actions=Y&Votes=Y&Memo=Y&Text=Y#

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