Thanks for "Lyme" bill legislation
To the Editor:
Recently a “Lyme” bill was passed in the Maine Legislature that was made possible because of some people from our area.
Diane Farnum and Rhonda Buker spent some time with Rep. Sheryl Briggs at her kitchen table and proceeded to draw up a bill concerning the difficulties with diagnosing Lyme disease.
The initial bill was drafted with “The Patient’s Right to Know” in mind.
When LD 597 began, the legislative process in the Health and Human Service Committee in February, other folks concerned about Lyme disease came forward to lend a hand. As the process developed, Rep. Deb Sanderson felt we should also “mimic” the recently passed bill in Virginia, which addresses the blood tests that are done for Lyme Disease.
It’s a little known fact that over 50 percent of Lyme patients test negative with the current testing process. With the passage of this bill, every patient testing for Lyme will receive a copy of their lab report.
Often the doctors overlook that labs advise follow up testing. In conjunction with the lab reports, the Maine CDC website will now state “A negative test does not mean that you don’t have Lyme.”
Patients need to know this so they won’t dismiss a Lyme diagnosis. The website will also include additional sites that will show a broader view of Lyme Disease.
The CDC (Center of Disease Control), for some crazy reason, did not want any more information on Lyme on their site. Why? You’ll have to ask them, because it’s a no-brainer to give out as much information as possible, whether it’s Lyme or cancer!
Without the extreme hard work of Sheryl Briggs, this would have never become a law. Sheryl spent countless hours trying to convince her counter parts of the importance of this bill. She was successful only because of her dedication to what was right. She tossed aside her party lines and did what an elected official is sworn to do -- represent the people of Maine
It was a hard fought battle but Sheryl never gave up and followed through to the end. She was a trooper and went above and beyond her call of duty. And I would be remiss if I didn’t also include Sen. John Patrick in the letter for he, as well, went to bat for the people of Maine. John has a lot of influence in Augusta and he used all he had to help get this bill passed. He also went against the grain of his party and did what was right. He put people in their places and made his point to them all.
I can’t say enough about John and Sheryl and what they were able to accomplish because of their caring for their fellow Mainers. I think the best I can do is say thank you, thank you and thank you again.