December 17, 2004 - There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that we’re getting closer to protecting doctors and patients in both PA and NY.  The bad news is that we have to try harder next year to get legislation passed and approved by the governors in both states.

First: Governor Pataki vetoed the bill in New York state that would have protected doctors from malicious persecution by the OPMC (Office of Professional Medical Conduct).  Lyme treating doctors continue to be harassed by the OPMC and relief will come for the doctors and their patients when the new legislation is passed and signed.  Efforts in NY got the bill to the governor’s desk, but he vetoed it.  Next year, Lyme activists will be back again.

Second: In Pennsylvania, the House passed HB 1977 but it never got to a vote in the Senate.  Provision #8 is what probably got this bill sent to the Banking and Insurance committee and not the Health and Human Services Committee.  The B & I committee tabled the bill, so it did not get to the floor of the senate for a vote.

HB 1977 in a nut shell:

  1. Defines “long term treatment” as longer than 4 weeks
  2. Allows licensed medical practitioners to treat Lyme and/or TBDs long term
  3. Protects doctors from misconduct proceeding for long term antibiotic treatment of  Lyme
  4. But, also protects the right of the medical board to prosecute physicians who don’t keep “complete and accurate records of long term … therapy”.
  5. A copy of any complaint needs to be disclosed to the doctor within 10 days of a request.
  6. Requires any charges against doctors to to “contain a statement of facts sufficient to allow a judicial determination as to whether the charges are proper”.
  7. When a Notice of Hearing is served on a doctor, the notice has to contain the identities of the experts testifying against the doctor and the substance of their opinion.
  8. Every health care policy in PA must cover prescribed treatment for Lyme or TBDs if the diagnosis and treatment are documented in the patients medical record – including long term therapies and treatment prescribed by the physician.

These are critically important provisions which need to be adopted.  You can help by contacting your local State Senator when the 2005 session gets underway.  We’ll let you know on our web site when to take action.

Gandhi said, "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."