http://www.jacksonnjonline.com/2011/07/ ... e-disease/
Here's Bill HR-2557 that Mr. SMITH of New Jersey (for himself, Mr. WOLF, Mr. HOLDEN, and Mr. GIBSON) introduced (not be confused with Senator Blumenthal's Bill introduced to The Senate on July 18th) :Congressman Chris Smith introduces bill to combat Lyme Disease
By Jackson, NJ on July 19, 2011
Filed under: Community News
Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced on Monday the introduction of a bill he wrote to combat Lyme disease.
Smith is the sponsor of the measure, H.R. 2557, which would support federal efforts concerning Lyme and other tick-borne diseases through the establishment of a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee. Smith co-chairs the House Lyme Disease Caucus, along with Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Tim Holden (D-PA), who are both cosponsors of the bill.
“It seems everywhere I go, someone comes up to me to talk about how Lyme disease has severely impacted their lives or someone they know,” said Smith. “Lyme is a very prevalent disease in the U.S. today. This legislation provides a comprehensive, nationwide effort to step up the fight against this disease. New Jersey is particularly hard hit.”
The Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee would ensure coordination and communication among many federal agencies, a broad range of medical professionals, and patients. The bill requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish the advisory committee to advise the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Health on Lyme disease activities. The Committee would meet at least twice a year, and submit, through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, an annual report of the Committee’s functions to the Secretary.
While Lyme accounts for 90 percent of tick-borne diseases in the U.S., the same tick species spreads other diseases, such as anaplasmosis and babesiosis. Other tick species spread diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and southern tick-associated illness.
Smith’s own state of New Jersey has high prevalence rates. The Lyme Disease Association (LDA), is headquartered in Jackson Township, Ocean County N.J. in Smith’s district.
“This bill represents an outstanding piece of legislation that creates a Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee to address many of the pressing needs of the community. The Committee is designed to ensure interagency coordination and communication that will advance a broad spectrum of viewpoints,” said Pat Smith, president of the LDA. “It will create a forum where government agency representatives and stakeholders will work together to identify priority issues regarding Lyme and tick-borne diseases. We are grateful to Congressman Smith and his staff for their enduring commitment to improve the health of countless patients suffering from Lyme and tick-borne diseases.”
Other regions are also hit hard, including Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and other states.
"As I have traveled throughout my congressional district, I have been struck by the lack of knowledge about Lyme by both patients and medical providers, even though this area has long been at the center of a Lyme epidemic,” said Congressman Frank Wolf. “I am pleased that this legislation builds on recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine in a report issued this past April and I hope that it will further efforts to increase awareness, knowledge, and transparency. Congressman Smith deserves a lot of credit for his hard work on this issue. I hope to continue my work with him, Congressman Holden, and Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-20), so that we can move closer to solutions for those infected.”
Gibson is also an original co-sponsor of the bill.
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) estimates that only 10 percent of Lyme cases may be reported. Lyme disease can lead to chronic illness and can affect every system in the body, including the central nervous system. Advanced symptoms include arthritis of weight-bearing joints, neurological and cardiac problems, encephalopathy and memory problems. The CDC has determined that from 1992 to 2006, the incidence of Lyme disease was highest among children aged 5 to 14 years of age.
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtex ... =h112-2557
I won't clutter this thread with my personal comments in case people want to comment on the content of the bill itself.112th CONGRESS
H. R. 2557
To provide for the establishment of the Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 15, 2011
Mr. SMITH of New Jersey (for himself, Mr. WOLF, Mr. HOLDEN, and Mr. GIBSON) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To provide for the establishment of the Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT OF A TICK-BORNE DISEASES ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
(a) Establishment- Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (referred to in this Act as the ‘Secretary’) shall establish within the Office of the Secretary an advisory committee to be known as the Tick-Borne Diseases Advisory Committee (referred to in this section as the ‘Committee’).
(b) Duties- The Committee shall advise the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary for Health regarding the manner in which such officials can--
(1) ensure interagency coordination and communication and minimize overlap regarding efforts to address tick-borne diseases;
(2) identify opportunities to coordinate efforts with other Federal agencies and private organizations addressing such diseases;
(3) ensure interagency coordination and communication with constituency groups;
(4) ensure that a broad spectrum of scientific viewpoints is represented in public health policy decisions and that information disseminated to the public and physicians is balanced; and
(5) advise relevant Federal agencies on priorities related to the Lyme and tick-borne diseases.
(1) APPOINTED MEMBERS-
(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall appoint the voting members of the Committee from among individuals who are not officers or employees of the Federal Government.
(B) GROUPS- The voting members of the Committee shall include the following:
(i) At least 4 members from the scientific community representing the broad spectrum of viewpoints held within the scientific community related to Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.
(ii) At least 2 representatives of tick-borne disease voluntary organizations.
(iii) At least 2 health care providers, including at least 1 full-time practicing physician, with relevant experience providing care for individuals with a broad range of acute and chronic tick-borne diseases.
(iv) At least 2 patient representatives who are individuals who have been diagnosed with a tick-borne disease or who have had an immediate family member diagnosed with such a disease.
(v) At least 2 representatives of State and local health departments and national organizations that represent State and local health professionals.
(C) DIVERSITY- In appointing members under this paragraph, the Secretary shall ensure that such members, as a group, represent a diversity of scientific perspectives relevant to the duties of the Committee.
(2) EX OFFICIO MEMBERS- The Secretary shall designate, as nonvoting, ex officio members of the Committee, representatives overseeing tick-borne disease activities from each of the following Federal agencies:
(A) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(B) The National Institutes of Health.
(C) The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
(D) The Food and Drug Administration.
(E) The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.
(F) Such additional Federal agencies as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.
(3) CO-CHAIRPERSONS- The Secretary shall designate the Assistant Secretary for Health as the co-chairperson of the Committee. The appointed members of the Committee shall also elect a public co-chairperson. The public co-chairperson shall serve a 2-year term.
(4) TERM OF APPOINTMENT- The term of service for each member of the Committee appointed under paragraph (1) shall be 4 years.
(5) VACANCY- A vacancy in the membership of the Committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term shall be appointed for the remainder of that term. Members may serve after the expiration of their terms until their successors have taken office.
(d) Meetings- The Committee shall hold public meetings, except as otherwise determined by the Secretary, after providing notice to the public of such meetings, and shall meet at least twice a year with additional meetings subject to the call of the co-chairpersons. Agenda items with respect to such meetings may be added at the request of the members of the Committee, including the co-chairpersons. Meetings shall be conducted, and records of the proceedings shall be maintained, as required by applicable law and by regulations of the Secretary.
(e) Report- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Committee, through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Director of the National Institutes of Health, shall submit a report to the Secretary. Each such report shall contain, at a minimum--
(1) a description of the Committee’s functions;
(2) a list of the Committee’s members and their affiliations; and
(3) a summary of the Committee’s activities and recommendations during the previous year, including any significant issues regarding the functioning of the Committee.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations- Of the amounts made available to the Department of Health and Human Services for general departmental management for fiscal years 2012 through 2016, there is authorized to be appropriated $250,000 for each of such fiscal years to carry out this Act. Amounts made available to carry out this Act shall be used for the expenses and per diem costs incurred by the Committee under this section in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, except that no voting member of the Committee shall be a permanent salaried employee