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Lyme Disease Legislation - Language Passes!

Type:  Featured News  
 
Success!  At 11:57 PM on July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature overrode Govenor Charlie Baker's veto of House Bill 4491 allowing for mandated health insurance coverage for long-term Lyme disease treatment.  We have found that land surveyors and engineers working in the field are among the jobs where the rate of Lyme disease is higher than the average worker.  Now that the legislature has overturned his veto, he cannot veto it again.
 
 
Please contact your Massachusetts State Legislators and thank them for passing the life-saving Lyme legislation.
 
MALSCE is grateful for the hard work of Past-President David Humphrey, PLS and the Massachusetts Lyme Coalition, which led the effort to pass this new law.
 
 

- Find your legislators based on where you live in Massachusetts.

 

- Look up the Email address for each on the Legislature's web site.

 

- Send the message below (personalize it first).

 

- If your State Senator or State Representative is a member of the conference committee - shown below the sample message - be sure to call the office too, after you send the message.

 

- Please send a copy of any information you receive back to Abbie Goodman 

 
This is older information from our advocacy efforts:
 
 
Sample Message - to your State Senator and State Representative, based on where you live/vote is below.  Be sure to personalize, mention you are a PLS or PE or work in surveying/engineering and be sure to include your home contact information, along with a daytime phone:
 
I respectfully request your support for the House language related to Lyme disease (Amendment 729). While the Senate budget included language (Amendment 427) related to Lyme disease coverage, the final language was flawed and could be harmful if adopted.

 

Personnel from land surveying and engineering firms nd land surveying companies often work in grassy and brushy terrain most likely to harbor disease-carrying deer ticks. In fact, land surveyors and engineers working in the field are among the jobs where the rate of Lyme disease is higher than the average worker. A 2013 survey conducted by the Massachusetts Association of Land Surveyors and Civil Engineers (MALSCE) found that 43% of respondents had been diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease; and most missed work because of the disease.

 

As the number of Lyme cases in the Commonwealth continues to rise, it’s critical that we have effective legislation that will expand and reinforce the long-term treatment of Lyme disease and require insurance companies to provide the needed coverage.

 

While we were encouraged that the Senate included language in the budget related to Lyme disease coverage, as drafted this language would be devastating to patients, their families, and their physicians and ultimately do more harm than good. In order to effectively help patients suffering from chronic Lyme, we ask that you support the House language in the budget.  

 
FY2017 Budget Conference Committee Members and Contact Information:
House:
1. Representative Brian Dempsey, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Chair 
Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov
617-722-2990
 
2. Representative Steven Kulik, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Vice Chair 
Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov
617-722-2380
 
3. Representative Todd Smola, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member
Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov
617-722-2100
 
Senate:
1. Senator Karen Spilka, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Chair 
Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov
617-722-1640
 
2. Senator Sal DiDomenico, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Vice Chair, 
Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
617-722-1330
 
3. Senator Viriato (Vinny) deMacedo, Joint Committee on Ways and Means Ranking Member
Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov
617-722-1330
 
 
 
Background:
 
MALSCE is supporting legislation related to the long-term treatment of Lyme Disease that is actively under consideration in the Massachusetts Legislature. We are working with the Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force to support this language that is currently in the House's FY2017 Budget proposal and is also in two Lyme insurance bills, H. 901 and S. 502, An Act Relative to Lyme Disease Treatment Coverage.
 
In April, the Massachusetts House of Representatives included an amendment in their FY2017 budget proposal.
 
The Senate's version of the budget also included Lyme Disease language, but it was changed at the last minute and does not accomplish the goal of long term coverage.
  
On March 19, 2016, H. 901 (now H. 4198) and S. 502 (now S. 2231) were reported favorably out of the Joint Committee on Financial Services.  They have been assigned to the Committee on Health Care Financing.  For these bills, this is the next step in the legislative process, unless we can get the amendment language in the legislature's final version of the FY2017 budget.
 

11,000+ people reached on the Massachusetts Lyme Coalition's Facebook Page over the past few months. Call your Massachusetts State Senator to let him/her know that you support and you support these bills:  https://malegislature.gov/People/Search

 
 
Background:
The two bills had their public hearing on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 11:00 am in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House.  MALSCE Member (and Past President) David Humphrey, PLS testified in support of these bills on behalf of MALSCE during a six hour public hearing.
 
We need MALSCE members help - by sending letters to your Massachusetts state legislators, based on where you live and vote, urging them to support these bills.
 
The Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force organizied a Lobby Day in support of S. 502 and H. 901, which was held on October 20, the same day as the hearing. Our advocacy isn't over though, so please contact your legislators
 
Action Items: 
1.  Please email or call the offices of your State Senator to express your support for insurance coverage of long-term Lyme disease treatment.
 
Your State Senator's and State Representative's contact information:
 
 
2.  Try to set a meeting with your State Senator or his/her aides, based on where you live and vote.
 
3.  Please see below for tips for connecting with your legislators.
 
If you have any questions or would like assistance with any of this, you can reach Abbie Goodman at MALSCE/The Engineering Center Education Trust or the Massachusetts Lyme Legislative Task Force at: lymebill@gmail.com
 
 
Connecting with Your Massachusetts State Legislators 
1. Your legislators want to hear what you have to say. Legislators want to meet and speak with their constituents. Most people run for elective office because they want to make a difference. Contact your legislator and know that she or he sincerely wants to hear what you have to say. Your voice and your vote count.
 
2. Meet with your legislator. It is very easy to set up a time to meet with your legislator. You can call his or her office and tell the legislative aide what day and time you will be visiting the State House. You can call both your state representative and state senator. Your legislator will either meet you him or herself, or have a staff member meet with you. The more notice you are able to give him or her about your visit, the better your chances of meeting with your legislator, instead of one of the staff.
 
Generally, legislators are in their State House offices Monday through Thursday. You can also set up an appointment to meet with your legislator at his or her district office which will be somewhere in the geographic area he or she represents. Legislators are usually in their district offices on Fridays and during late summer when the legislature is not in session. (You can find your legislator's name and contact info here: http://www.malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator
 
3. Keep it simple. You do not have to go armed with facts and figures. Most legislators just want to hear your family’s story. Try to keep your comments focused. Think about the main points that you want to convey.
 
4. You are your own best advocate.You and your family may be the first Lyme patients your legislator has met. She or he may be unaware of the impact of Lyme, or may have preconceived ideas about it.  Direct contact with patients and their families conveys essential information, and helps to put a human face on the disease.  These connections can help her or him see that Lyme patients are their constituents and that their needs must be served.
 
5. See your visit as an educational experience. Visiting your legislator is an empowering experience for both you and your family. It is a learning experience for children to see that they have a voice in representative government.  Most legislators sincerely enjoy meeting and talking to children. You and your children can prepare for the visit by visiting the Massachusetts General Court web site, especially the page on the lawmaking process http://www.malegislature.gov/Engage/HowIdeaBecomesLaw.
 
Younger children might enjoy the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Kids' Zone: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/ciskid/kididx.htm. Relax, and enjoy the time you spend with your legislators.
 
6. Follow up your visit with a thank you letter. It is always a good idea to personally thank your legislator for taking the time to meet with you and your family. 
 
 
 

 

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