ALBANY, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) announced that legislation to protect doctors who treat patients with chronic Lyme disease (S.7854) has passed the State Senate. Senator Gipson is a co-sponsor of this legislation.
“During my first term, advocating for those suffering from Lyme disease and tick-borne illness has been one of my most important causes. I have met with families across the Hudson Valley and have heard from individuals throughout the state who are living with the devastating effects of Lyme and tick-borne illness,” said Senator Gipson. “For far too long, those suffering from Lyme and tick-borne illness have not had the patients’ rights that they deserve. Today, I’m proud that the State Senate has finally listened to their voices and has come together to pass this important legislation that will help thousands of New Yorkers.”
The legislation prohibits the investigation of professional misconduct by a medical professional based solely on treatment that is not universally accepted by all in the medical profession. Doctors treating those with chronic Lyme disease and tick-borne illness have been practicing under concerns of being targeted by insurance companies who may report them to the state’s medical board. Doctors have also risked the possibility that the medical board may deny, revoke, or suspend the license of a physician or discipline any physician who prescribes, administers, or dispenses long-term antibiotic therapy for therapeutic purposes for a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now reporting that the number of people with Lyme disease is actually ten times what has previously been reported. Additionally, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, California and most recently Vermont have taken similar action to protect doctors treating those suffering from chronic Lyme disease and tick-borne illness.
Senator Gipson concluded: “I hope that this legislation will be the necessary stepping-stone for New York State to take further action and require health insurers to provide coverage for the long-term medical care of Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses. I remain committed to fighting on behalf of those suffering from Lyme and tick-borne illness and their families. Our work is not done and it’s crucial that we continue to do everything in our power to address this serious health crisis.”