~ Excerpted from the October 2007 Issue of LymphLink
NEW JERSEY LYMPHEDEMA AWARENESS DAY
The New Jersey Legislature unanimously passed on June 11, 2007 a joint resolution which designates March 6th of each year as "Lymphedema Awareness Day" to raise awareness about the treatment needs and severity of lymphedema and to honor lymphedema patients. This resolution requested Governor Jon Corzine to annually issue a proclamation recognizing March 6 th as "Lymphedema Awareness Day" in New Jersey and calling upon public officials, the health care community and the citizens of the State to observe the day with appropriate activities and programs, which promote awareness of the treatment needs and severity of lymphedema and which honor inspirational lymphedema patients. Governor Corzine signed the proclamation on August 6, 2007 .
The resolution, SJR31/AJR99 sponsored by Senator Ellen Karcher and Assemblymembers Linda Stender, Herb Conaway, Jr. and Eric Munoz, with Co-Sponsors Assemblymembers Charles T. Epps, Jr. and Brian Stack acknowledged the National Lymphedema Network sponsorship of Lymphedema Awareness “D” Days on March 6 th each year. Thanks are extended to Nancy Piwowar, lymphedema activist in New Jersey , who has worked tirelessly over the last two years to reach this milestone in lymphedema awareness in New Jersey . Nancy ’s efforts working with her Assemblywoman Linda Stender were described in the April-June 2005 issue of LymphLink. New Jersey members drop a line to your legislators thanking them for supporting this lymphedema awareness legislation and urging them to take the next step in introducing a lymphedema diagnosis and treatment bill.
NEW YORK INSURANCE COMMISSIONER THANKS NLN
The New York legislature passed a lymphedema health education bill AB 7398 Carrozza on August 2, 2005 which created section 207 of the N.Y. Public Health Law. This law provides, in part, that the department of Health shall conduct education and outreach programs for consumers, patients, and health care providers relating to “lymphedema, an abnormal swelling of the extremities including the causes and symptoms of lymphedema, the value of early detection, possible options for treatment including their benefits and risks, and other relevant information and the recommendation that hospitals treating breast cancer patients implement a lymphedema alert program by placing a bright pink wristband on the patient's affected arm;”
The Health Department was also directed to “produce, make available to others for reproduction, or contract with others to develop such materials mentioned in this section as the commissioner deems appropriate. These materials shall be made available to the public free of charge as appropriate or for a fee under certain circumstances.”
And finally, the Health Commissioner “shall consult with appropriate health care professionals, providers, consumers, and patients or organizations representing them. The commissioner may appoint as appropriate advisory councils relating to various matters that are or are proposed to be the subjects of programs under this section. All such councils shall include representation of health care professionals, providers, consumers, patients and other appropriate interests.”
On June 18, 2007 I wrote a letter to Dr. Richard Daines, New York State Health Commissioner, to offer the help of NLN in creating these educational materials. Bonnie Lasinski and Saskia Thiadens worked with the Department of Health to create such a pamphlet. I have received a reply from The State of New York Department of Health thanking NLN for its help in creating a new pamphlet entitled "Have You Had Cancer Treatment?” currently being printed and available on line at http://www.health.state.ny.us/publications/0399/ or, for a .pdf file of the same information: http://www.health.state.ny.us/publications/0399.pdf
The letter says, in part “Thank you for the important work your organization does…and for reaching out to the NYSDOH [New York State Department of Health] with your concerns regarding lymphedema awareness and education.”
Robert "Bob" Weiss, M.S.
NLN LE Legislative Advocate