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Legislative Action

Legislation of Lyme physicians & Insurance Companies

Twelve states have legislation in place or pending which either protects Lyme treating physicians and/or mandates insurance coverage. Below is a summary of the legislation.

Legislative Recap
Compiled by Lorraine Johnson, JD, MBA
Executive Director, California Lyme Disease Association (CALDA)
The following information is up-to-date as of October 2006. As legislation is added, either on a state level or a federal level, this list will be updated.


Physician protection bill passed 2005.
AB 592 expands the existing alternative/complimentary safe harbor to include Lyme disease. If a medical practice does not result in death or serious bodily harm, a physician shall not be subject to disciplinary action for providing complimentary or alternative medicine practice, including the practice of Lyme disease. To qualify for this “safe harbor”, the physician must have performed a good faith prior medical exam of the patient, obtained informed consent from the patient, and given the patient information regarding conventional treatment as well as the CV of the treating physician.

Medical Board of California: Physicians who treat Lyme disease longer term are now authorized to review Lyme disease cases. This will ensure that physicians who treat Lyme disease long term will not be subject to medical board actions.

Mandatory lab reporting: Lyme disease is now laboratory reportable. The DOH will call physicians to confirm that the cases meet the CDC definition for surveillance purposes before including these cases in their surveillance numbers.


Connecticut passed legislation in 1999 that requires that health insurers provide not less than 30 days of intravenous antibiotic treatment, or 60 days of oral antibiotic treatment, or both. Also, insurers are required to provide further treatment if recommended by a certified board of rheumatologists, specialists of infectious disease, or a neurologist. In many cases, insurers have not requested this secondary opinion, and as the law states “not less than…”, unlimited antibiotic treatment is often the case.


Delaware Task Force on LD created by ’04 legislation to make recommendations for the prevention of Lyme disease and for educational programs to raise awareness about long-term effects of misdiagnosis of Lyme disease. Task Force ready to present recommendations to DE senate


Bill introduced for doctor protection & mandatory insurance coverage. Effort unsuccessful in 2005.


Ayer held Joint Health Committee LD Hearings, where a panel including Lyme community representatives and the public spoke. Promised future action on LD


Physician protection and mandatory insurance passed in 1998.
This legislation has been challenged in the courts by Blue Cross.

New Hampshire

Legislature passed resolution supporting federal Lyme legislation (Sen. Kenney).NH declared May Lyme Awareness Month.

New Jersey

State Board of Medical Examiners
NJ SBME has appointed several physicians who treat Lyme disease long term to review Lyme disease cases. This will ensure that physicians who treat Lyme disease long term will not be subject to medical board actions. New Jersey also has several bills in the legislature for mandatory insurance coverage for Lyme disease.

New York

Office of Professional Medical Conduct
June 2005, OPMC Director issued memorandum to OPMC staff

Memorandum endorses and memorializes principles currently in place regarding the investigation of physicians who use treatment modalities not universally accepted by the medical profession, “… such as the varying modalities used in the treatment of Lyme and other TBDs” Current law shall not be construed to affect or prevent physician’s use of whatever medical care, conventional or non�-conventional, which effectively treats human disease, and that practice by itself cannot constitute professional misconduct. It is contrary to OPMC policy/practice to investigate or charge doctors solely for above treatments.


New Lyme bill sponsored by Merle Phillips to provide physician protection, mandatory insurance, and a task force to increase awareness and disseminate information. -HB 1534 passed P A House now in Senate.

Rhode Island

Physician protection bill passed 2002.
Mandatory insurance coverage passed 2003.

The Lyme Disease and Diagnosis and Treatment Act of 2002 prevents the Rhode Island Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline from prosecuting physicians solely because they prescribe and give long-term antibiotics for clinically diagnosed Lyme, provide that they document the diagnosis and treatment plan in the patient’s medical record. A year later the legislature passed a bill mandating insurance coverage for long term antibiotic therapy when necessary.

NATIONAL – Washington, DC

Legislation pending in both the House (Smith, Kelly) H-3427 and the Senate (Dodd/Santorum) S-1479. Over 90 groups, including ILADS, support companion bills 3427/1479:

$100mil over 5 years
Research & education, delineated goals
Task Force w/ physicians, public, & government

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