Jan. 31st Public Legislative Hearing on OPMC Procedures
General Info, Speaker List, Written Testimony and More

Hearing was awesome!!!

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On Thursday, January 31, 2002, Lyme patients from across the nation traveled to NYC to attend a NY State Assembly Committee hearing to investigate the disciplinary process of Physicians and Physician Assistants. The room was literally overflowing with people, many of whom were Lyme patients.

The hearing was called by the NY Assembly Committee on Health, Committee on Higher Education, and Committee on Codes. The Chairman also mentioned the involvement of the Insurance Committee. Assemblymembers on the podium included Chair Richard Gottfried, Chair Ed Sullivan, Assemblywoman Mayersohn and Assemblyman Miller.

Prior to this hearing was a November 27th hearing in Albany which focused exclusively on the scientific controversy surrounding Lyme disease. Evidence from that hearing led Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, Chairman of the Assembly Health Committee, to state "there is a substantial body of highly qualified medical support for the proposition that Lyme disease can persist as a chronic condition and that long-term antibiotic treatment can be appropriate."

This hearing focused on issues surrounding the operation of the Office of Professional Medical Conduct (OPMC), the license enforcement branch of the NYS Department of Health. Following brief testimony by the DOH, almost the next 3 hours were spent with the assemblymembers asking very pointed questions of the DOH, involving many questions regarding "Lyme doctors".

The early afternoon was spent with representatives of several groups who have gripes against the OPMC presenting. Of interest because Orens is a Lyme doctor, on a number of occasions the Orens principle, which involved a ruling where a physicians assistant cannot constitute a lay member of the hearing panel, was raised by non-Lyme groups.

Later in the afternoon Monica Miller and Pat Smith gave excellent testimony involving suggestions regarding OPMC reform. Monica focussed on various areas of OPMC reform, where as Pat focused more specifically on Lyme disease and a more narrow area of suggestions for reform, drawing on the DOH testimony and her experience with meetings with the DOH. These 2 testimonies complimented the other very well.

At this time is was about 5 pm and much of the room cleared out with many speakers to go! (see order of speaker list below) Word is that the testimonies of the trials lawyers were excellent and provided a unique perspective. Unfortunately, I missed this and the testimony of Lyme advocate Lia McCabe!

Many thanks to everyone who attended or assisted others in attending!!!


  • Monica Miller's
  • Pat Smith's
  • OPMC/DOH Testimony

    (Links Expired)

  • "Report From the Hearing"
  • "Back from NY and Thrilled"

    (Mostly organized below by panels)

    Dennis J. Graziano, Director, OPMC
    Don Berens, General Counsel, SDOH
    (Also with them were Brian Murphy and Pat Cunningham)

    Patricia Donnelly
    Ilene Corina, Director of PULSE
    Ralph Speken, MD
    Pearl Korn
    Leonard Joseph

    Gerald L. Conway, Dir., Governmental Affairs, NYS Medical Society

    Scott Todd, Committee for Justice

    Dr. Charles Gantt
    Mark Ungar, Exec. Dir. ADD Action Group
    Al Cutler, Patient

    Blair Horner, NYPIRG
    Art Levine, Center for Medical Consumers
    Monica Miller, Government Relations, Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine
    Pat Smith, Lyme Disease Association

    Andrew Cheng, MD, President Elect of the New York County Medical Society
    John Hallowell, NYS Physicians Assistant Society
    Andy Schafley, American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

    Lee Marks, Health Plan Association
    Sheila Frawley, Health Now

    Hugh Campbell, Pres. NYS Trials Lawyers Association
    Howard Teich, Esq.
    Peter Barber, Esq.
    Nathan Denbin, Esq.
    Steve Lockwood, Esq.
    Wilfred T. Friedman, Esq.

    Joanna Amato
    Leah McCabe
    Norman Rosenthal
    Robert Giordano (didn't speak)
    Marcus Cohen
    Mark Barnes, Esq. Health Law Section NYS Bar Association


  • Pics by Mark (Link Expired)


    For those of you who have asked what you can do if you cannot get to NYC for the hearing, here it is. Almost all of us have stories from our own experience that can show the points that are asked for.


    Deadline: 2 weeks after the hearing (Feb. 14)


  • This website before hearing
  • Press Release
  • Flyer


  • The OPMC Lyme Controversy
  • Nov. 27 Lyme Hearing
  • OPMC Reform

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    Page Last Modified: March, 2002
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