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Assembly OK's bill that would protect doctors who treat Lyme disease long-term

An adult deer tick, the type that transmits Lyme disease.
May 19, 2014
The Doctor Protection Act, a bill allowing patients suffering from long-term effects of Lyme disease to continue to get antibiotic treatment, has passed the Assembly.

The bill (A.7558-a/S.5520-b), sponsored by Assemblyman Fred Thiele, would protect licensed physicians who prescribe long-term antibiotics therapy to treat Lyme disease from being disciplined by the New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct.

According to the bill, physicians in the Hudson Valley have received disciplinary actions from the New York State Board of Professional Medical Conduct for providing treatment to patients who have shown symptoms of Lyme Disease, but whose tests have come back negative.

While Lyme disease is usually treated within the first 30 days, some cases need follow-up medication. Doctors who prescribe, administer, or dispense long-term antibiotic treatment face threats of revocation of suspension of their medical licenses, by the Board of Professional Conduct.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 95 percent of all Lyme disease cases originated in 13 states including New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Delaware.

"The extent and severity of the Lyme disease cases on the East End has escalated to the point of a public health crisis. Physicians should not be afraid to offer proper treatment. Early treatment can save lives," said Thiele, D-Sag Harbor.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, and is under review in the Senate Health Committee.

  1. print email
    May 19, 2014 | 03:49 PM

    There is solid, peer-reviewed scientific data to support the treatment option that this bill would authorize physicians to use to treat thousands of people who have been suffering from Lyme Disease. This bill would not authorize reckless threatment by incompetent physicians. The State Health Department would still have authority to investigate improper conduct by physicans. This bill would merely allow state-of-the-art treatment found to be effective by state-of-the-art science. Any elected representative who fails to support this bill shares the responsibility for the suffering of thousands of people.

    Jeff Levy
  2. print email
    Pass the Doctor Protection Act
    May 20, 2014 | 08:18 AM

    Half my family suffers from Lyme Disease. It's ridiculous that people have to travel out of state for treatment by lyme literate doctors. Doctors should not face retribution for offering long-term antibiotic treatment for late stage lyme in NY or any other state.

    Nadanja McCalla
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