Legislation prioritizes federal research on Lyme and related diseases
On Monday, July 13, at the Dutchess County Department of Health, Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) and Chris Gibson (NY-19), joined by local health professionals, highlighted their legislation to fight Lyme. The Tick-Borne Disease Research Transparency and Accountability Act, authored by Gibson and originally co-sponsored by Maloney to fight Lyme disease and related illnesses, was adopted as part of the broader 21st Century Cures Act.
Last week, the 21st Century Cures Act passed the House of Representatives 344-77. Maloney and Gibson were joined by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro and Dutchess County Commissioner of Health Kari Reiber to discuss the impact of their legislation on the fight against Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.
The provisions on tick-borne illnesses in the 21st Century Cures Act create an interagency working group consisting of federal agencies and nonfederal partners, including experienced Lyme physicians and patient advocates with a broad spectrum of scientific viewpoints. The working group is tasked with ensuring coordination among federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control to maximize research priorities.
The bill requires the secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with the working group to submit a strategic plan to Congress within three years, that includes benchmarks to measure progress. The plan must include a proposal for improving outcomes regarding Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, including progress related to chronic or persistent symptoms, infections and co-infections.