Hearing was awesome!!!
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On Thursday, January 31, 2002, Lyme patients from across the nation traveled to NYC to attend a NY State Assembly Committee hearing to investigate the disciplinary process of Physicians and Physician Assistants. The room was literally overflowing with people, many of whom were Lyme patients.
The hearing was called by the NY Assembly Committee on Health, Committee on Higher Education, and Committee on Codes. The Chairman also mentioned the involvement of the Insurance Committee. Assemblymembers on the podium included Chair Richard Gottfried, Chair Ed Sullivan, Assemblywoman Mayersohn and Assemblyman Miller.
Prior to this hearing was a November 27th hearing in Albany which focused exclusively on the scientific controversy surrounding Lyme disease. Evidence from that hearing led Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, to state "there is a substantial body of highly qualified medical support for the proposition that Lyme disease can persist as a chronic condition and that long-term antibiotic treatment can be appropriate."
This hearing focused on issues surrounding the operation of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), the license enforcement branch of the NYS Department of Health. Following brief testimony by the DOH, almost the next 3 hours were spent with the assemblymembers asking very pointed questions of the DOH, involving many questions regarding "Lyme doctors".
The early afternoon was spent with representatives of several groups who have gripes against the OPMC presenting. Of interest because Orens is a Lyme doctor, on a number of occasions the Orens principle, which involved a ruling where a physicians assistant cannot constitute a lay member of the hearing panel, was raised by non-Lyme groups.
Later in the afternoon Monica Miller and Pat Smith gave excellent testimony involving suggestions regarding OPMC reform. Monica focussed on various areas of OPMC reform, where as Pat focused more specifically on Lyme disease and a more narrow area of suggestions for reform, drawing on the DOH testimony and her experience with meetings with the DOH. These 2 testimonies complimented the other very well.
At this time is was about 5 pm and much of the room cleared out with many speakers to go! (see order of speaker list below) Word is that the testimonies of the trials lawyers were excellent and provided a unique perspective. Unfortunately, I missed this and the testimony of Lyme advocate Lia McCabe!
Many thanks to everyone who attended or assisted others in attending!!!
FEEDBACK ON LYMENET:
SCHEDULE OF WITNESSES:
(Mostly organized below by panels)
Dennis J. Graziano, Director, OPMC
Don Berens, General Counsel, SDOH
(Also with them were Brian Murphy and Pat Cunningham)
Ilene Corina, Director of PULSE
Ralph Speken, MD
Gerald L. Conway, Dir., Governmental Affairs, NYS Medical Society
Scott Todd, Committee for Justice
Dr. Charles Gantt
Mark Ungar, Exec. Dir. ADD Action Group
Al Cutler, Patient
Blair Horner, NYPIRG
Art Levine, Center for Medical Consumers
Monica Miller, Government Relations, Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine
Pat Smith, Lyme Disease Association
Andrew Cheng, MD, President Elect of the New York County Medical
John Hallowell, NYS Physicians Assistant Society
Andy Schafley, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons
Lee Marks, Health Plan Association
Sheila Frawley, Health Now
Hugh Campbell, Pres. NYS Trials Lawyers Association
Howard Teich, Esq.
Peter Barber, Esq.
Nathan Denbin, Esq.
Steve Lockwood, Esq.
Wilfred T. Friedman, Esq.
Robert Giordano (didn't speak)
Mark Barnes, Esq. Health Law Section NYS Bar Association
For those of you who have asked what you can do if you cannot get to NYC for the hearing, here it is. Almost all of us have stories from our own experience that can show the points that are asked for.
Deadline: 2 weeks after the hearing (Feb. 14)
Page Last Modified: March, 2002
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