The New York State Petition To Stop Lyme Disease

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    New York State residents
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    members of the Real Majority Project
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Fact: Dutchess County is now one of the three highest counties in the United States in per capita Lyme cases, as Rep. John Hall, former County Legislator Bill McCabe, and many others have pointed out (LymeDiseaseAssociation.org).

Fact: "Lyme disease patients' lack of insurance coverage leads to limited courses of antibiotics, often not effective in eradicating the Lyme bacterium, which has the ability to hide inside cells, kill human lymphocytes and certain B cells, and to change into other forms." (LymeDiseaseAssociation.org)

Sign on to this petition and call state legislators at (877) 255-9417 if you agree with the following four points (inspired by the folks @ UnderOurSkin.com, ILADS.org, and LymeDiseaseAssociation.org):

1. Doctors here in Dutchess County and across New York State who properly treat chronic Lyme disease sufferers with more than four weeks of antibiotics should not be harassed, discriminated against, or punished. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and California have all sensibly passed legislation to protect doctors who treat chronic Lyme disease sufferers, ensuring that treating doctors cannot be prosecuted for unprofessional conduct solely for providing long-term treatment based on clinical judgment-- it's time for our state to finally follow suit.

2. New York State legislators should pass and our Governor should sign into law A.2100, legislation requiring health insurers to provide coverage for long-term medical care for Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens. Rhode Island and Connecticut have also passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover patients for chronic Lyme disease treatment (I even got a resolution passed on this here in the Dutchess County Legislature last year-- with widespread bipartisan support for this as well-- but the state continues to fail to act; see Assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A2100). It's time for New York.

3. The Infectious Diseases Society of America should recommend more than four weeks of antibiotics to treat chronic Lyme disease, allow chronic Lyme disease doctors to be members on the current guidelines review panel of the IDSA, and fully abide by all of the terms of the Connecticut Attorney General's antitrust Settlement Agreement (including eliminating all financial conflicts of interest).

4. A new Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Task Force should be created to effectively press for no further delay on action on the three points above-- consisting of county legislators, state legislators, Lyme disease experts, and chronic Lyme disease sufferers from Dutchess, Ulster, Putnam, Orange, Columbia, Greene, Westchester, and Rockland counties-- issue is too important for this not to happen.

Also-- email all 25 of us in the Dutchess County Legislature for this brand-new resolution below from yours truly (submitted Mar. 21st to Co. Leg. offices) to be passed as soon as possible-- and speak up (bring signs too!) for its passage Mon. Apr. 12th and Mon. May 10th at 7 pm during the next two full board meetings of our County Legislature-- on the sixth floor of our County Office Building at 22 Market Street in Poughkeepsie.

Pass it on-- if you don't want to wait until 2525 for the action we need now on this(!).

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
Clinton/Rhinebeck
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
Host of "The Real Majority Project" Fridays 5-6 pm on WVKR 91.3 FM
Host of "Common Sense" Saturdays 8-10 am on WHVW 950 AM
Host of DutchessDemocracy.blogspot.com
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

p.s. Must-read: 12/2/09 testimony of Patricia Smith President of the Lyme Disease Association before the Pennsylvanioa House Majority Policy CommitteeHearing on Combating Lyme Disease Dec. 2, 2009 in Worcester, PA-- go to this link:
www.LymeDiseaseAssociation.org/Testimony20091202.pdf.

p.p.s. There's no reason Congress can't push IDSA to do right thing on this too-- call Schumer, Gillibrand, Murphy, Hall, Hinchey, et. al. on this toll-free-- at (800) 828-0498!

p.p.p.s. Re: pro-active/preventive aspect of Lyme disease-- join over seventy other Dutchess County residents signed on to my PetitionOnline.com/SaveLand effort if you agree with Dr. Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies on the relationship between overdevelopment in Dutchess County and spiking Lyme/tick disease rates. Ostfeld just spoke March 7th in Millbrook about how Dutchess County residents are now literally five times more likely to encounter a Lyme disease-bearing tick in a small woodlot than in a large state forest; diverse animal populations minimize our exposure to diseases like Lyme; current threats to biodiversity include habitat loss, the movement of invasive species, and climate change (also see 350.org).

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[again-- email all 25 of us in Dutchess at [email protected] for action on this now!]

WHEREAS, Dutchess County is now one of the three highest counties in the United States in per capita Lyme cases; Lyme disease patients' lack of insurance coverage leads to limited courses of antibiotics, often not effective in eradicating the Lyme bacterium, which has the ability to hide inside cells, kill human lymphocytes and certain B cells, and to change into other forms, and

WHEREAS, despite the Center for Disease Control's warning that the CDC's surveillance criteria are not intended for diagnosis, treatment, or insurance reimbursement, but are only intended for
disease surveillance reporting, far too many doctors inappropriately use them to diagnose and treat and insurance companies are using them to deny treatment reimbursement, and

WHEREAS, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA)'s Lyme treatment guidelines currently recommend against any long-term treatment for chronic Lyme; against entire classes of antibiotics; against alternative treatments; against some supplements; and against individual physician discretion in diagnosis and treatment; according to the IDSA, chronic Lyme disease doesn't even exist, and

WHEREAS, abuse of these guidelines has been so blatant that Connecticut State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal initiated an investigation of the IDSA Guidelines' development process; he found "undisclosed financial interests held by several of the most powerful IDSA panelists", and

WHEREAS, according to the Lyme Disease Association, despite the IDSA's disclaimer that its guidelines are not mandatory, actual experiences demonstrate these guidelines have become de facto law; medical boards, health departments, hospitals, insurers, schools, pharmacists, and IDSA doctors themselves often hold that position, leading to doctor prosecution and inability of patients to get needed medical care for Lyme disease, and

WHEREAS, according to the Lyme Disease Association, doctors who don't follow IDSA guidelines but use their own clinical skills to diagnose and treat face medical board discipline, hospital privilege/post revocation, and insurance plan exclusion if they do not march lockstep with IDSA, creating a chilled treatment climate, to the detriment of Lyme disease sufferers, and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and California have all passed legislation to protect doctors who treat chronic Lyme disease sufferers, ensuring that treating doctors cannot be prosecuted for
unprofessional conduct solely for providing long-term treatment based on clinical judgment, and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island and Connecticut have also passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover patients for chronic Lyme disease treatment, and therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature calls on our Governor and state legislators, our state's Department of Health, our state's Board for Medicine, our state's Board for Professional Misconduct, our county's Department of Health, our county's Board of Health, and our county's Medical Society to work together to make sure that doctors who properly treat chronic Lyme disease sufferers with more than four weeks of antibiotics are not harassed, discriminated against, or punished, and

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature calls on our Governor and state legislators to pass and sign into law A.2100, legislation requiring health insurers to provide coverage for long-term medical care for Lyme disease and other tick-borne pathogens, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature calls on the Infectious Diseases Society of America to recommend more than four weeks of antibiotics to treat chronic Lyme disease, allow chronic Lyme disease doctors to be members on the current guidelines review panel of the IDSA, and fully abide by the terms of the Connecticut Attorney General's antitrust Settlement Agreement, and be it further

RESOLVED, that the Dutchess County Legislature calls for the creation of a new Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Task Force of county legislators, state legislators, Lyme disease experts, and chronic Lyme disease sufferers from Dutchess, Ulster, Putnam, Orange, Columbia, Greene, Westchester, and Rockland counties, and be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, our Governor, state legislators, our state's Department of Health, our state's Board for Medicine, our state's Board for Professional Misconduct, our county's Department of Health, our county's Board of Health, our county's Medical Society, and the County Legislatures of Ulster, Putnam, Orange, Columbia, Greene, Westchester, and Rockland counties.