TITLE 5
Businesses and Professions

CHAPTER 5-37.5
Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Treatment

SECTION 5-37.5-2


§ 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:

History of Section.
(P.L. 2002, ch. 159, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 160, § 1.)