Chapter 113

Chapter 113

2003 -- H 6136 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED

Enacted 07/07/03

 

 

A N A C T

RELATING TO HEALTH AND SAFETY -- LYME DISEASE DIAGNOSIS AND

TREATMENT

     

     

     Introduced By: Representatives Gallison, Anguilla, Enos, Lewiss, and Amaral

     Date Introduced: February 27, 2003

 

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Section 5-37.5-2 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-37.5 entitled "Lyme

Disease Diagnosis and Treatment" is hereby amended to read as follows:

     5-37.5-2. Preamble. -- WHEREAS, The Governor's Commission on Lyme Disease and

Other Tick-Borne Diseases (the "Commission") was formed by executive order in 2002; and

      WHEREAS, The General Assembly recognizes the negative impact of Lyme disease on

Rhode Islanders; and

      WHEREAS, Rhode Island has the second highest number of reported Lyme disease

cases as a percentage of population in the United States; and

      WHEREAS, The Commission and the General Assembly held hearings and reviewed the

medical literature to gain an understanding of the concerns of citizens and the medical community

about Lyme disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention; and

      WHEREAS, Citizens of Rhode Island diagnosed with chronic lyme disease experience

great difficulty in being diagnosed and treated thereby impairing their access to medical care; and

      WHEREAS, The lack of insurance coverage for diagnosis and long-term antibiotic

therapies is a major barrier to access to medical care for persons with symptoms compatible with

chronic Lyme disease; and

      WHEREAS, Physicians whose practices are devoted to treating chronic Lyme disease

patients, and who continue to provide treatment if they feel such treatment is medically necessary,

have noted significant improvement in the condition of their patients; and

      WHEREAS, There is substantial evidence that considerable scientific controversy

surrounds the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses; and

      WHEREAS, Laboratory tests for Lyme disease are not definitive and consensus

guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of chronic Lyme disease have not been developed; and

      WHEREAS, Some physicians feel threatened by insurers and licensing boards for their

choices among possible therapies for their patients; and

      WHEREAS, The Commission and this General Assembly recommend that legislation be

adopted that promotes access to medical care for persons with chronic Lyme disease in Rhode

Island; and

      Now, therefore, it is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

     SECTION 2. Chapter 5-37.5 of the General Laws entitled "Lyme Disease Diagnosis and

Treatment" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     5-37.5-5. Mandatory coverage for certain lyme disease treatments. Every individual

or group hospital or medical expense insurance policy or individual or group hospital or medical

services plan contract delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after January 1,

2004, shall provide for lyme disease treatment as provided in chapters 27-18, 27-19, 27-20, and

27-41 of the general laws.

     SECTION 3. Chapter 27-18 of the General Laws entitled "Accident and Sickness

Insurance Policies" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     27-18-62. Mandatory coverage for certain lyme disease treatments. (a) Every

individual or group hospital or medical expense insurance policy or individual or group hospital

or medical services plan contract delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after

January 1, 2004 shall provide coverage for diagnostic testing and long-term antibiotic treatment

of chronic lyme disease when determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a physician

acting in accordance with chapter 5-37.5 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled "lyme disease

diagnosis and treatment" after making a thorough evaluation of the patient's symptoms,

diagnostic test results and response to treatment. Treatment otherwise eligible for benefits

pursuant to this section shall not be denied solely because such treatment may be characterized as

unproven, experimental, or investigational in nature. Provided, however, this section shall not

apply to insurance coverage providing benefits for:

     (1) hospital confinement indemnity;

     (2) disability income;

     (3) accident only;

     (4) long-term care;

     (5) Medicare supplement;

     (6) limited benefit health;

     (7) specified disease indemnity;

     (8) sickness or bodily injury or death by accident or both; and

     (9) other limited benefit policies.

     SECTION 4. Chapter 27-19 of the General Laws entitled "Nonprofit Hospital Service

Corporations" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     27-19-53. Mandatory coverage for certain lyme disease treatments. (a) Every

individual or group hospital or medical expense insurance policy or individual or group hospital

or medical services plan contract delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after

January 1, 2004 shall provide coverage for diagnostic testing and long term antibiotic treatment

of chronic lyme disease when determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a physician

acting in accordance with chapter 5-37.5 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled "lyme disease

diagnosis and treatment" after making a thorough evaluation of the patient's symptoms,

diagnostic test results and response to treatment. Treatment otherwise eligible for benefits

pursuant to this section shall not be denied solely because such treatment may be characterized as

unproven, experimental, or investigational in nature.

     SECTION 5. Chapter 27-20 of the General Laws entitled "Nonprofit Medical Service

Corporations" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     27-20-48. Mandatory coverage for certain lyme disease treatments. -- (a) Every

individual or group hospital or medical expense insurance policy or individual or group hospital

or medical services plan contract delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state on or after

January 1, 2004 shall provide coverage for diagnostic testing and long-term antibiotic treatment

of chronic lyme disease when determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a physician

acting in accordance with chapter 5-37.5 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled "lyme disease

diagnosis and treatment" after making a thorough evaluation of the patient's symptoms,

diagnostic test results and response to treatment. Treatment otherwise eligible for benefits

pursuant to this section shall not be denied solely because such treatment may be characterized as

unproven, experimental, or investigational in nature.

     SECTION 6. Chapter 27-41 of the General Laws entitled "Health Maintenance

Organizations" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

     27-41-65. Mandatory coverage for certain lyme disease treatments. Subscribers to

any health maintenance organization plan shall be afforded coverage under that plan on or after

January 1, 2004 for diagnostic testing and long term antibiotic treatment of chronic lyme disease

when determined to be medically necessary and ordered by a physician acting in accordance with

chapter 5-37.5 of the Rhode Island General Laws entitled "lyme disease diagnosis and treatment"

after making a thorough evaluation of the patient's symptoms, diagnostic test results and response

to treatment. Treatment otherwise eligible for benefits pursuant to this section shall not be denied

solely because such treatment may be characterized as unproven, experimental, or investigational

in nature.

     SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon passage and shall expire on December 31, 2004.

     

=======

LC02608/SUB A

=======