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Jacobs, Lyme task force seek to develop statewide disease protocol


Fri, Dec 8th 2017 07:00 pm
Legislative proposal is centerpiece of State Senate report
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs, a member of the State Senate Task Force on Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases (TBDs), is co-sponsoring legislation that would require the New York state commissioner of health to develop a standard protocol for the diagnosis of these debilitating diseases. The bill (S.6926) would also require providers to provide patients with a notification form to better educate them about their test results.
"A constant theme in the Lyme forum I hosted earlier this year and in public hearings across the state is the great difficulty in diagnosing the disease in a timely fashion so it can be more effectively treated," Jacobs said. "As new and more dangerous strains of these diseases continue to spread throughout our state, it is clear that these protocols for notification and treatment are desperately needed."
Jacobs' camp said testing currently used to detect TBDs is "plagued with rampant inaccuracies that lead to errors in diagnoses and too many occurrences of patients thinking they are free of disease. The subsequent delays in receiving critical treatment result in worsening - and sometimes irreversible - symptoms."
"A standard protocol for diagnosis, treatment and patient notification will do far more than just empower patients and their families. It will also serve as an effective tool for providers that will result in better patient outcomes," Jacobs said.
Introduction of this legislation was one of a number of recommendations contained in a recently issued report from the task force titled "Ticking Time Bomb: An Update on the Lyme and Tick-borne Disease Epidemic in New York State." Other key recommendations include creation of a statewide action plan, and reinstituting the state health quality cost containment commission to accurately assess the cost of insurance and consider coverage for long-term treatment of symptoms.
"It is clear from the increase across the state in tick-borne diseases that this growing threat requires significant attention and resources," Jacobs said. "I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Lyme task force in developing and implementing recommendations from this report in the upcoming legislative session."

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