PRINTER'S NO. 239
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
181
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY BROOKS, SCAVELLO, GORDNER, ARGALL, BREWSTER,
J. WARD, COSTA, WHITE, DINNIMAN, BROWNE AND YUDICHAK,
FEBRUARY 8, 2019
REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION AND PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE,
FEBRUARY 8, 2019
AN ACT
Providing for continuing education in Lyme disease and related
tick-borne diseases for health care professionals.
The General Assembly finds and declares as follows:
(1) This Commonwealth has ranked the highest in the
country in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme disease in
prior years and in 2017 reported 11,900 new cases of Lyme
disease.
(2) The Department of Environmental Protection published
a study in 2015 that confirmed a high risk of Lyme disease in
every county of this Commonwealth and found all 67 counties
had the blacklegged tick.
(3) The early clinical diagnosis and appropriate
treatment of these tick-borne disorders and diseases can
greatly reduce the risks of continued, diverse and chronic
symptoms that can affect every system and organ of the human
body and often every aspect of an individual's life.
(4) Approximately 10% to 40% of Lyme disease patients
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may go on to suffer from a complex, chronic disease which is
much more difficult to treat.
(5) There are multiple diagnostic and treatment
guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease and
tick-borne illness.
(6) Residents of this Commonwealth should be aware of
early disseminated and persistent symptoms and should know
that a negative Lyme test cannot rule out Lyme disease.
(7) Scientific understanding of these complex tick-borne
illnesses is expected to evolve rapidly in the next decade,
including diagnosis and treatment options.
(8) The high burden of tick-borne diseases in this
Commonwealth requires an urgent and ongoing response. Health
care practitioner education is a specific strategy
recommended.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Short title.
This act shall be known and may be cited as the Lyme Disease
and Related Tick-Borne Disease Continuing Education Act.
Section 2. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this act shall
have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Licensee." A physician, physician assistant or nurse
practitioner.
"Licensing board." The State Board of Medicine or the State
Board of Nursing.
"Lyme disease." Signs or symptoms compatible with acute,
late-stage, persistent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi or
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complications related to the infection or with other strains of
Borrelia, including, but not limited to, B. miyamotoi, B.
mayonii, B. garinii and B. afzelii, that are recognized by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a cause of
Lyme disease. The term includes infection that meets the
surveillance criteria established by the CDC and other acute and
persistent manifestations of the infection as determined by a
health care practitioner.
"Related tick-borne disease." The presence of signs or
symptoms compatible with infection with bartonella,
babesiosis/piroplasmosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky
Mountain spotted fever, rickettsiosis, Powassan or other tick-
transmissible illness or complications related to the
infections. The term does not include Lyme disease.
Section 3. Continuing education requirement.
(a) General rule.--A licensing board shall require that a
licensee complete at least two hours of continuing education in
the assessment and diagnosis of and treatment options for Lyme
disease and other related tick-borne diseases as a portion of
the total continuing education required for license renewal.
(b) Content.--A licensing board shall establish the content
of continuing medical education required under this section. The
content shall address, at a minimum, the most current, evidence-
based research on tick data/pathogens Statewide, patient profile
and symptom presentation in regards to assessment and diagnosis,
current diagnostic options and current treatment options and
prevention.
(c) Input.--In establishing the content required for
continuing medical education required under this section, the
licensing board shall seek input from persons with knowledge
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about Lyme disease or related tick-borne diseases, including,
but not limited to, universities involved in the research of
Lyme disease and related tick-borne diseases. To ensure quality
and balanced medical education, the licensing board shall take
into consideration the philosophies of the CDC, the guidelines
established by the National Institutes of Health, International
Lyme and Associated Diseases Society and the Infectious Diseases
Society of America as well as the latest scientific evidence and
research.
Section 4. Construction.
Nothing in this act shall be construed to provide treatment
recommendations for Lyme disease or related tick-borne disease.
Section 5. Regulations.
The licensing board shall promulgate regulations necessary to
effectuate this act no later than 18 months from the effective
date of this section.
Section 6. Expiration.
This act shall expire December 31, 2023.
Section 7. Effective date.
This act shall take effect immediately.
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