“The Lyme community really rallied behind this Bill. We were overwhelmed by the support and intense passion so many residents brought to the discussion.” – CT Rep. Kim Fawcett
Representative Kim Fawcett (D-Fairfield, Westport) has introduced a bill in the Connecticut General Assembly (House Bill 5625, An Act Concerning the Use of Long-Term Antibiotics for the Treatment of Lyme Disease) that will extend protections to doctors needed to allow them to freely diagnose and treat patients with Lyme disease.
The bill will allow doctors treating Lyme disease patients to diagnose the disease clinically and consider all treatment options, including long-term antibiotic therapy.
“After experiencing first hand last summer, through my husband’s illness, the devastating health consequences and frustrations related to seeking treatment for Lyme Disease, I started reaching out to activists and fellow legislators to determine what the state could do to help,” Rep. Fawcett said.
“Patients and their families often suffer unnecessarily because treatment options are controversial and doctor’s opinions are diverse. This Bill aims to establish rights and protections to all doctors who diagnose and treat patients with Lyme Disease.”
Representative Fawcett’s efforts to build momentum for the proposal have already earned the bill 12 co-introducers from around the region.
All of Fairfield’s legislative delegation is supporting the legislation, including Republican Minority Leader Sen. John McKinney (R-Easton, Fairfield, Newtown and Weston) and Rep. Tom Drew (D-Fairfield). Other legislators supporting the legislation include Rep. Chris Lyddy, Rep. Peggy Reeves and Rep. Tony Hwang and representatives from Danbury, Westport, Norwalk, Ridgefield, and Stamford.
“At a time when the legislature faces tough financial deficits and cuts in spending statewide, legislators can still support legislation that does not cost the state tax payers but improves quality of life. The Lyme Bill is a proactive way to make Connecticut a better place to live without adding to the financial burdens of our residents,” Rep. Fawcett said.
“The bill changes public health policy and clarifies a doctor’s right to diagnose and treat this disease; it does not cost the state any money or create any type of new program,” Rep. Fawcett added.
A public hearing before the Public Health Committee was held Friday, Feb 6. “The Lyme community really rallied behind this Bill, we were overwhelmed by the support and intense passion so many residents brought to the discussion.” Fawcett said.
• More the 100 people submitted written testimony on behalf of the Bill sharing their personal stories and struggles in fighting the disease and in achieving a diagnosis and proper treatment.
• The State Medical Society and the Lyme Disease Association of America also sent representatives to testify on behalf of the Bill.
The Bill will face a committee vote in the Public Health Committee and in the coming weeks make its way to the House Floor for consideration. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call their State Representatives and State Senators to urge passage.
Source: CT State Rep. Kim Fawcett press release, Feb 9, 2009