There shall be a special commission to conduct an investigation and study of the incidence and impacts of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases in the commonwealth including, but not limited to, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis, and ehrlichiosis.
The commission shall consist of 21 members: 3 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the senate minority leader; 3 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the house minority leader; the commissioner of the department of public health or a designee; the commissioner of the division of health care finance and policy or a designee; the director of the state laboratory institute or a designee; the state epidemiologist or a designee; 2 public members who shall be patients or family members of patients, 1 of whom shall be appointed by the senate and 1 of whom shall be appointed by the house of representatives; and 9 members to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a physician specializing in infectious diseases, 1 of whom shall be a professional member of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, 2 of whom shall be experts in the treatment or research of Lyme disease, 2 of whom shall be members of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases organizations representing diverse regions of the commonwealth and 3 of whom shall be members of local boards of health from different Lyme endemic areas of the state.
The study shall include, but not be limited to, a cost-benefit analysis of: (i) conducting a Lyme disease public health clinical screening study in high risk regions; (ii) developing education materials and training resources for detecting signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses in school-aged populations, to be used by clinical providers and school health personnel; (iii) statewide surveillance and testing for tick-borne diseases in both Ixodes scapularis, or the black-legged deer tick, and Amblyomma americanum, or Lone Star ticks; and (iv) educating the medical community about research on all aspects of Lyme disease, both acute and chronic. The commission shall also investigate the availability of grants and federal funds for the study of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases to determine if future action is feasible and warranted to support Lyme and tick-borne diseases research in the commonwealth. The commission shall review mandatory reporting procedures to promote improved compliance both for CDC-positive and clinically diagnosed cases of Lyme disease and associated tick-borne co-infections.
The commission shall report the results of its investigation and study, together with drafts of legislation, if any, necessary to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, who shall forward the same to the joint committee on public health and the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before April 1, 2012.