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Expand insurance to cover PANS


January 16. 2018 6:36PM




To the Editor: Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is a horrendous illness where a child suddenly develops a cluster of psychiatric and physical symptoms due to an undertreated or untreated infection such as group-A streptococcus or mycoplasma pneumonia. A classic onset of this illness would be where a child goes to sleep one night and wakes up a different child, with a severe personality change. Some of the most debilitating symptoms include food refusal, OCD, aggression, anxiety, extreme mood swings, sleep disturbances, bedwetting, urinary frequency, and tics.

Children who are not treated properly may remain affected neurologically, psychologically and cognitively throughout their childhood and into adulthood and can become permanently disabled. Currently, doctors are not able to provide the standard of care for this illness because insurance companies deny some prescribed treatments. New Hampshire is considering taking action to require insurance companies to pay for doctor-ordered, life-saving, treatment. In order to protect our children, we need to pass HB 1751.

A Massachusetts study determined that providing coverage for this illness would cost between $0.003 and $0.039 per capita. If we consider the lost income when a family member quits working to care for a sick child and the cost to society when an individual needs social services for a lifetime due to disability from undertreated PANS, enacting this bill would be a cost savings for New Hampshire. For the good of our children, and our state, let’s pass HB 1751.

DABRA SEIKEN

Portsmouth


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