House Bill 291

148th General Assembly (2015 - 2016)

Bill Progress

Signed 8/29/16
The General Assembly has ended, the current status is the final status.

Bill Details

3/16/16
Sen. Lopez, Ennis
Rep. D. Short
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE CREATION OF AN OVERSIGHT BOARD TO EDUCATE HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS ABOUT LYME DISEASE.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted through the bite of an infected tick. Typical symptoms include fatigue, fever, and headache. Without treatment, the infection can damage the joints, heart, and central nervous symptom, resulting in meningitis, temporary facial paralysis, and impaired muscle function. Newly-diagnosed patients can be treated with antibiotics. Even with treatment, many patients experience chronic symptoms. Due to the general nature of the symptoms and lack of awareness or understanding of the disease, however, many patients have experienced difficulty in receiving an accurate diagnosis and receiving appropriate treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of people diagnosed with Lyme disease each year is around 300,000. Delaware, along with our neighboring states, is in the red zone for Lyme disease. In 2013, 13 states in the northeast region of the U.S. alone reported more than 94% of the confirmed cases of Lyme disease across the country; Delaware had the 6th highest incidence of those reported cases. Delaware has a greater need to understand and respond to Lyme disease than other states. The statistics show that Delaware has a heightened interest in educating its health care professionals about Lyme disease. This Act is the result of the findings of the Lyme Disease Task Force (“the Task Force”). On June 1, 2015, the Task Force issued a report that made several recommendations to address this critical health threat which is unique to Delawareans, including the creation of the Lyme Disease Education Oversight Board (“the Board”), which is tasked with the following: Educating health care professionals to develop a high index of suspicion for Lyme disease, because Delaware is in an endemic area for the disease. Educating health care professionals that Lyme disease can be diagnosed clinically based on history and physical examination, and serologic antibody testing can confirm, but is not required to make, a clinical diagnosis. Encouraging continuing medical education credits and nursing continuing education units regarding Lyme disease and make the topic enticing to encourage health care professionals to attend such courses as soon as they are available. Hosting continuing education credits and units in all three counties, making efforts to host the courses in hospitals to get the most health care professionals together at once. Delivering education in a variety of methods, using professional associations, medical journals, radio, internet, and conferences, and linking medical training with a public awareness campaign. Trying to bring all health care professionals together for collaboration. This Act includes a sunset provision and will expire 8 years after its enactment unless otherwise provided by a subsequent act of the General Assembly.
80:402
Not Required
Takes effect upon being signed into law

Bill Text

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