FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 26, 2016
Statement attributed to:
Board of Directors, International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) has commented on the Proposed Rule of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CMS-3295-P: “Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Hospital and Critical Access Hospital Changes to Promote Innovation, Flexibility, and Improvement in Patient Care” which appeared in the Federal Register (0938-AS21, June 16, 2016). Without further clarification, these regulations could limit or eliminate antibiotic treatment for the many patients who suffer from Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
“Antibiotic stewardship should achieve the goals cited in the proposed rule of reducing barriers to care, improving patient protections and prohibiting discrimination. This can be accomplished within institutional settings if ILADS 2014 Lyme disease guidelines are taken duly into consideration in the formulation of antibiotic stewardship policies and recommendations regarding appropriate antimicrobial usage for persons with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.”
Additionally, the proposed rule emphasizes measures to eliminate discrimination directed at certain groups. The ILADS comment pointed out that persons with Lyme disease and tick-borne infections constitute a large and growing class of individuals subjected to severe and unjust discrimination which requires recognition and correction. Specifically, although many individuals in this group of patients often require longer courses of antimicrobials than are commonly prescribed, many are denied appropriate care based on arbitrary protocols that do not consider the specifics of their case. While ILADS recognizes that there are differences of opinion in the literature, after a thorough review of the evidence regarding Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, ILADS concluded that there is substantial scientific support for persistent infection. For this reason, ILADS promotes the selective and judicious use of extended antimicrobial therapy in patients with Lyme disease rather than the arbitrarily prescribed treatment durations championed by others.
ILADS is a nonprofit, international, multidisciplinary medical society, dedicated to the diagnosis and appropriate treatment of Lyme and its associated diseases. ILADS promotes the understanding of tick-borne diseases through research and education, and it strongly supports those physicians and other health care professionals who are dedicated to advancing the standard of care for Lyme and its associated diseases.
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Executive Director, ILADS
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