Lyme Time with Paula Jackson Jones

To Everything, Turn Turn Turn

Posted:  Wednesday, January 9, 2019 - 11:00am
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The popular folk-rock hit from 1965 by The Byrds, “Turn Turn Turn,” reminds us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones, a time to gather stones together

Well, for the Lyme community, we’ve experienced nothing but time and time has not been kind to us. We’ve grown sicker and some have passed. We’ve become despondent, traveling from provider to provider seeking answers and reprieve from our sufferings. Every year, a new battle is waged against the powers that be in an attempt to rock the status quo, with demands for change for something as simple as basic care. We’ve exasperated our finances until the point of bankruptcy, where some have given up and given in to accepting a lifestyle of pain and suffering as their new normal. The medical society, in general, has failed the Lyme community...until now.

On Jan. 1, 2019, a new Maine law went into effect. LD 1030 Nondiscrimination in Healthcare Bill. Thanks to the efforts of many naturopathic providers, this new law will be life changing for so many patients that continue to struggle not only with chronic Lyme and tick-borne disease but with other chronic illnesses as well. This law is not specific to tick-borne illness.

Dr Julie Forbes wrote a featured article, “Ripples of Hope – Turning The Tide of Insurance Coverage for Naturopathic Doctors,” explaining all about this new law and what it means for patients. You can access that article on the Maine Association of Naturopathic Doctors website, www.mand.org.

A few points she wrote that I want to point out:

LD 1030 is a bill that requires private insurance companies doing business in Maine to not exclude Naturopathic Doctors (ND) from their network based on their training and licensure and to reimburse for their services as they do for medical doctors, osteopathic doctors and nurse practitioners.

You may have heard of section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act. It bans discrimination of provider type by private insurance companies. LD1030 is a better, Maine state specific law, that won’t be affected even if the ACA is removed or changed at the federal level. It goes into effect January 1st, 2019.

The overwhelming majorities in both the Maine house and senate in support of the bill reflect the changing demands of the public, more of whom are seeking alternative therapies that are effective at addressing the root causes of many chronic illnesses the population struggles with - often unsupported by conventional medical practitioners lacking in the skill set to satisfactorily address their health issues. The groundswell of support is indicative of the success lifestyle therapies have achieved thru the use of diet, exercise, specialized functional medicine testing and diagnostics, herbal and homeopathic remedies as well as treatments ranging from manipulation to meditation.

This is huge turn for the Lyme community because so many Lyme literate providers are naturopathic doctors. Lyme literate providers are sought out not only for their knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating tick-borne diseases but in their integrative approach to healthcare, noting that they spend a significant amount of time with their patients, listening and assessing current medical situations ~ mind, body and spirit. Taking the time and treating the whole person changes the visit, makes the patient feel heard and validated.

When you’re sick, its vital that you feel heard, that your aches, pains and impairments be validated. This supports good mental health as oppose to making the patient feel like they are crazy and it is all in their head because they chose to see a medical provider who doesn’t recognize or understand how tick-borne diseases present and manifest themselves, individually or collectively as co-infections. As a medical provider, you do not turn someone away just because you don’t understand what they are going through. As a patient advocate, we’ve never stopped fighting for what we need in order to get better.

I’ll end with Dr Forbes quoting Senator Angus King:

“If you compare making a change in the world to tossing a pebble into water, you quickly see that alone, one pebble makes a small splash with ripples that ultimately dissipate. You would realize how difficult it is for one individual to initiate change like throwing pebble after pebble to make a wave. But… with enough people joining together to throw stones, it becomes easy to see how small ripples can literally change the tide and those new ripples of hope, spreading out from Maine for healthcare, could possibly cause a tsunami.”

Change is coming and as long as we continue to fight, together, it will continue to change until no one has to suffer due to the inability to receive and afford proper and adequate medical care.

Paula is the president of the MLDSE, the co-chair of the Access to Care Services and Patient Support subcommittee of the Federal HHS Tick-borne Disease Working Group, the Maine-partner of the national Lyme Disease Association, member of Maine’s CDC Vector-borne Workgroup and active in Maine’s Lyme legislation. You can reach her at paula@mldse.org and visit her website www.mldse.org