Specialist in tick-borne disease now at Health Center

Treatment will be covered by most health insurance plans
Mon, 06/17/2019 - 8:00am

Boothbay Region Health Center has added Jennie McNeil, FNP to its roster of medical providers. McNeil specializes in treatment for tick-borne disease.

The Rockland native has been seeing patients at her practice in Waldoboro. She moved to the Health Center early in June and area residents have greeted her with enthusiasm. The Center reports as many as 25 calls each day seeking information about her services and treatment for tick-borne disease.

“The Boothbay region is a hot bed for ticks and the Center wanted to offer the best services in the area,” explained Paula Jackson-Jones, member of the Center’s board and founder of Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education.

McNeil’s expertise has been well known to area residents suffering from tick-borne illness. She saw more than 400 patients at her Waldoboro practice, but was not able to provide services covered by health insurance.

By her joining the Health Center, most of McNeil’s current and future patients will now be able to receive treatment that is covered by insurance. She is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) with 25 years of experience in healthcare.

McNeil is also a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. Her focus on tick-borne diseases started because she was treating children and adolescents who experienced a sudden onset of symptoms that weren’t usual and didn’t respond to regular medications used for mental health issues.  “I started testing everyone and found so much tick-borne disease that I had to learn how to treat it,” she explained.

After a few years, McNeil’s practice in Waldoboro was overwhelmed with calls. One challenge was difficulty collaborating with mainstream medical practices that weren’t listening when she tried to refer patients to them to access specialty care. Now that she is on staff at the Health Center, that will change. “I have the full practice behind me and everyone here is open to collaborating,” she said.

She said there are patterns in the story when she consults with new patients – some of whom call from out of state or make a five-hour drive to see her because treatment in their own community isn’t working.

She cautioned, the approach is individual and variable. “People come in to see me in tears. They have been shamed, dismissed, labeled and no longer trust their practitioners.”

Jackson-Jones agreed and has been referring calls to McNeil. “Jennie’s name has spread throughout the state because of her knowledge, compassion and empathy,” Jones said.

With the addition of McNeil, the Health Center becomes the only Lyme-literate center in the Midcoast and one of a few in the state that can accept health insurance, according to Jones.

“It doesn’t have to become a chronic illness,” McNeil advised. “The sooner you receive help after a bite the better your chance of recovery.”

For more information, contact Midcoast Lyme Disease Support and Education at 446-6447, 841-8757 or by email:  info@mldse.org

Reach Boothbay Region Health Center at 633-1075.