House Bill 295 seeks to protect physicians' rights to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol for their patients. New Hampshire residents need HB 295 to safeguard their choice in treatment of Lyme disease. NH doctors are under pressure from the medical community to treat with very limited antibiotic regimen, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America which denies the existence of chronic Lyme disease.
HB295 was amended by the House Health and Human Services Committee and the bill passed the full House on a voice vote. In the process of amending the bill, the definition of ``Lyme disease'' was changed from its original definition in HB295. One thing we must accomplish in the Senate is to have them change the definition of ``Lyme disease'' back to what it was in HB295 when the bill was introduced. Then we must ask that the Senators vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on HB295.
WHAT: Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing on House Bill 295
WHY: Your very presence in the room on Thursday will send a powerful message to the Senate that this is a statewide issue. Attendance has always been a major factor in the success we have achieved in moving the Lyme bill through the legislature. We must build on that momentum at the Senate hearing. Whether or not you speak, please know that your presence is critical at this hearing.
WHO SHOULD SPEAK:
The Lyme Legislation Committee has arranged for key people to testify before the Senate committee to help the members understand the grave importance of this proposed legislation. We believe we have selected an excellent cross-section to represent the Lyme community.
We will submit to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee more than 200 pages of written testimonies that the Lyme Community submitted in January 2010 to the House Health and Human Services committee.
Still, we want to invite members of the Lyme Community to tell their stories, as this is a unique opportunity for our legislators to hear from their constituents. Your story is very important. However, unlike the House hearing (which can last hours), most Senate committee hearings last only about 1-1.5 hours. It is therefore imperative our message remains clear, on point and tight.
If you would like to speak, please consider the following recommendations:
· Limit your time to 1.5 to 2 minutes maximum
· Keep your message tight
· Tell your personal story
· Emphasize how important long-term antibiotics were to your recovery
· If your doctor has ever stated s/he is afraid to treat with long-term antibiotics because of fear of repercussion, now is the time to state that without using the doctor's name
· Please write your speech before the hearing
· Practice it
· Time it
· Shorten it
In the interest of time, we ask that you be vigilant of the messages being shared by others before you speak. If your story is similar to those that have already been told, you might consider simply standing and stating your name, hometown, and indicate your support of House Bill 295 in a statement such as:
"Hello. My name is XXXX XXXX. I live in XXXXXX, New Hampshire and four out of five of my family members have been diagnosed with Lyme. I am here today to strongly urge this committee to replace the definition of ``Lyme disease'' in the current bill with the definition of ``Lyme disease'' from HB295 as it was originally introduced, and then vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on House Bill 295."
RSVP: If you plan to attend the hearing on Thursday, April 14, please send an email to the committee member who sent you this Action Alert.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED:
What Else Can You Do? Call Your Senator
Feel free to use the enclosed scripts to contact YOUR OWN Senator to request that they amend House Bill 295, the Lyme Disease bill, by replacing the definition of ``Lyme disease'' in the current bill with the definition of ``Lyme disease'' from HB295 as it was originally introduced, and then vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on House Bill 295. It is best to speak to your Senator by phone if possible, as they receive many emails each day. If you call them, BE SURE TO SAY THAT YOU ARE A CONSTITUENT (from their district), as they are more likely to respond to constituent calls. Swift and strong action is necessary THIS WEEK. We would like to overwhelm the Senate offices with polite but firm requests for amendment and passage. We need to make our voices heard NOW. Our legislators need to recognize that there is more than one standard of care for Lyme disease and New Hampshire residents deserve to have all options made available to them.
You can call at home or office (see contact information below). Legislative aides will pass your message along to the Senator. If you would like to follow up your phone call with an email, it is also imperative to note that you are from that Senator's district. Please be respectful about the hour of day you call and the amount of time you take.
"Hello, may I please speak to ________ . I am calling to ask you to amend House Bill 295, the Lyme Disease bill, by replacing the definition of ``Lyme disease'' in the current bill with the definition of ``Lyme disease'' from HB295 as it was originally introduced, and then vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on House Bill 295. Changing this definition will give doctors the freedom to use all of their skills and training to assist Lyme patients without fear of retribution.
This legislation will allow thousands of patients like me, who have been seriously debilitated by this disease, to have access to the full spectrum of care that is available to treat chronic Lyme. HB 295 DOES NOT legislate medical care nor does it ask legislators to choose how to treat Lyme disease. It simply assures patients receive equal opportunity to access both Lyme treatment guidelines.
Right now New Hampshire doctors are under pressure from the medical community to treat with very limited antibiotic regimen, specifically, the guidelines from the Infectious Disease Society of America. IDSA denies the existence of chronic Lyme disease and the effectiveness of long-term treatment. However, there is another set of evidence-based guidelines, from the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, which has proven effective in successfully treating thousands in this state. HB 295 simply assures that doctors are free to provide either treatment without fear of retribution.
Similar legislation was passed in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and California and, unanimously, in Connecticut. New Hampshire, which has the highest incidence of Lyme disease per capita in the country, should be at the forefront of fighting this pandemic, which is truly one of the gravest public health issues of our time. Thank you for your time. Please amend the definition of ``Lyme disease'' in the current bill with the definition of ``Lyme disease'' from HB295 as it was originally introduced, and then vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on House Bill 295.
YOU CAN FOLLOW YOUR PHONE CALL WITH AN EMAIL
Copy and paste the letter below OR draft your own letter and use it. The important thing is to ask for support for the bill.
Your name _________
Dear Senator ___________,
I am writing to ask you to amend House Bill 295, the Lyme Disease bill, by replacing the definition of ``Lyme disease'' in the current bill with the definition of ``Lyme disease'' from HB295 as it was originally introduced, and then vote ``ought to pass as amended'' on House Bill 295. This bill will protect doctors in New Hampshire who provide extended antibiotic treatment to patients diagnosed with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
We live in a state with the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country. We must respond to this epidemic by allowing physicians in our state to provide treatment to their patients based on individualized clinical evaluation, without fear of retaliation from state medical boards. Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, California and New York have already passed similar legislation.
Although there are two standards of care, the New Hampshire Health and Human Services website still links to only one. Like patients who suffer from other diseases, it is important that physicians in New Hampshire tell patients about all available treatment options. Too many of your constituents now cross state lines to find Lyme-literate doctors who will treat chronic Lyme disease based on a clinical evaluation. Many of these Granite State residents, once seriously disabled by Lyme, have seen significant improvement with long-term antibiotic treatment.
Thank you in advance for giving serious and thoughtful consideration to this bill,
___________________________ (your name)
To all in the Lyme Community, we thank you for your swift action and strong support. This promises to be another long fight, but it will be worth it. Please pass this message along.
The New Hampshire Lyme Legislation Committee
Posted by onbam (Member # 23758) on :
How many of these bills have worked, and how many have backfired? It seems like at least one has been subverted and used against patients.
[ 04-10-2011, 07:08 PM: Message edited by: onbam ]
Posted by tdtid (Member # 10276) on :
I obviously can't speak for other states, but I do know that our NH doctors are forced to fly very very low under the radar and the ones willing to come out and testify are either from out of state and treating our NH patients or willing to come out for reasons I can't discuss.
We have many doctors treating that said they won't take new patients unless we get this bill passed. I can't really give more information than I have above for obvious reasons, but doing nothing isn't a solution for our state either.