SENATOR TERRY GIPSON URGES HEALTH DEPARTMENT TO EXPAND LYME & TICK-BORNE ILLNESS FUNDING IN LETTER TO COMMISSIONER
POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – New York State Senator Terry Gipson (D-Dutchess, Putnam) urged New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah to expand funding in the Department of Health’s 2014/15 budget for Lyme and tick-borne illness research, education and outreach in a recent letter. Senator Gipson has introduced the TickRAID Act, S.5983, which would appropriate $1 million to the Health Department’s Tick Borne Disease Institute. Past funding has been cut by almost 50 percent over the past 6 years.
“It’s unconscionable that as more families are impacted every day by Lyme and tick-borne illness in the Hudson Valley and across New York State, that funding has been cut in half,” said Senator Gipson. “We cannot sit back and wait on the Federal Government for funding. We must take responsibility as a state to address this rising health epidemic now.”
In the letter, Senator Gipson highlights the fact that the Tick-Borne Disease Institute has been underfunded and has experienced significant cuts from $150,000 in 2008 to under $70,000 in 2013, despite the fact that the spread of Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses in New York State has been growing astronomically in the past few years. In August 2013, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that there is at least ten times the number of people affected with Lyme disease than was previously reported. The TickRAID Act is being carried by Asm. Fred W. Thiele, Jr., (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) in the Assembly. The legislation would provide the Tick-Borne Disease Institute the appropriate funding in order to provide grants for organizations in New York to execute proper research, detection, education and outreach efforts.
Senator Gipson concluded, “I look forward to working with Dr. Shah to ensure that we increase our understanding of Lyme and tick-borne illness and that those impacted by Lyme and tick-borne illness receive the care they deserve.”