Directs the commissioner of health to establish a standard protocol for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick borne diseases identified by such commissioner; such protocol shall require the provision of written notification to each patient being treated for Lyme disease or other tick borne diseases relating to symptoms, risk factors, diagnosis and other information relating to such diseases; enacts the "Demos Ford Act".
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8640
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the public health law, in relation to
the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick borne
To ensure New York is taking the lead in the fight against Lyme and tick
borne diseases (TBDs) by requiring the Commissioner of Health to work
with health care providers and experts to develop a standard protocol
and patient notification for the diagnosis and treatment of this public
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one names the bill as the "Demos Ford Act".
Section two amends subsection § 206-b of the Public Health Law to
require all physicians in the state of New York to review a diagnosis of
juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, neurological and neuropsychiatric disor-
ders or other musculoskeletal pain syndromes of unexplained origin and
to consider whether the patient is suffering from a disorder caused by
bacteria in the Borrelia genus, which is transmitted by ticks and is
commonly referred to as Lyme Disease and/or additional tick borne
infections known to cause co-morbid diseases.
Part two of section two requires the Commissioner of Health, in consul-
tation with health care providers, experts, and stakeholders with
diverse perspectives to develop a standardized protocol for the diagno-
sis and treatment of Lyme disease and other TBDs as identified by the
Commissioner. As part of this protocol, the Commissioner shall develop a
standardized notification form to be distributed by providers to each
person under their care being tested for Lyme disease, or other TBDs
identified by the Commissioner. Such protocol and notification are to be
developed and prepared for distribution within 120 days of the enactment
of this law.
Section three provides that the act shall take effect immediately.
As Lyme and other tick borne diseases (TBDs) continue to spread and
reach new areas of the state, more New York residents are struggling to
get a proper diagnosis and receive treatment. Patients continue to come
forward with stories where they present with symptoms, which may or may
not include a "bull's-eye" rash, but providers refuse to test them for
Lyme, or refuse to provide treatment until symptoms are confirmed by a
test, or where a test comes back negative and treatment is denied or
discontinued. In these scenarios patients spend months, or sometimes
years, seeking care from many different specialists in an effort to
ascertain the reason for the symptoms they suffer.
Given the complicated nature of diagnosis due to the inadequacy of
current testing mechanisms, the long term consequences to patients' and
fact that New York is at the epicenter of this epidemic, it is imper-
ative that the state develop its own protocol to educate and guide
providers in properly diagnosing and treating Lyme disease and other
TBDs. Patient accounts clearly demonstrate the need for a universal
approach including well informed providers and patients. As these
diseases continue to spread into new areas of the state where health
care providers have not previously had to deal with them, this need will
continue to grow. Enactment of a statewide protocol, as well as a
patient notification form, that will educate both providers and patients
will relieve many patients from the despair and unnecessary care they go
through to obtain a diagnosis and will result in the more timely diagno-
sis and effective treatment of these diseases.
To be determined.
The act shall take effect immediately.