Rhode Island is the only state which has specifically passed legislation which prohibits medical boards from disciplinary action against doctors who treat Lyme and tick borne infections with long term antibiotics. It is also the only state which requires insurance companies to pay for long term treatment for Lyme disease.
Fear of board and licensure issues has driven many Lyme docs and their patients underground. This is a significant factor adding to the cost of treatment.
The template of change seen in Rhode Island should become the basis of needed change in many other states.
Political changes must occur so that doctors can treat this illness like other chronic illness, without the fear of persecution from colleagues who are excessively judgmental and ill informed.
I feel that patients suffering with Lyme disease should have access to affordable care.
Physicians must also become better informed about the use of supplements which can dramatically increase the cost of care, and in many cases not be necessary.
Most LLMDs do not participate with insurance plans. The treatment of chronic Lyme patients is complex and requires a great deal of time and effort from the treating physicians. The laboratory evaluation- frequently not covered and the cost of various therapies, also not covered, has in many cases only allowed patients who are well heeled to seek the needed care for what can be a devastating illness.
Cost effective protocols must be established. Perhaps this can be best accomplished by the use of nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others, who can at least aid in the process of educating patients about the disease.
Many changes in the system are needed, to allow access to good care for Lyme and related illness to patients of all socioeconomic groups.