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Congratulations to all the Kansas City Chiefs fans in the district. They say football is a game of inches measured in yards. The legislature is a game of parties measured in votes. I hope you showed up for your local caucus last week and cast your vote for the candidate of your choice. It is a tradition that I hope Iowa will be able to continue for along time.

I had a subcommittee this week on a bill, SF2084, that would help parents with medication for children who have contracted and illness called PANDAS.

Stanford Children’s Health describes the disease like this:

Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) is a clinical diagnosis given to children who have a dramatic – sometimes overnight – onset of neuropsychiatric symptoms including obsessions/compulsions or food restriction. They are often diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or an eating disorder, but the sudden onset of symptoms separates PANS from these other disorders. In addition, they may have symptoms of depression, irritability, anxiety, and have difficulty with schoolwork. The cause of PANS is unknown in most cases but is thought to be triggered by infections, metabolic disturbances, and other inflammatory reactions.

Like PANS, children with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) have an acute onset – within 2 to 3 days – of neuropsychiatric symptoms, specifically OCD or tics (involuntary, purposeless movements). However, PANDAS patients test positive for a recent streptococcal infection, such as strep throat, peri-anal strep or scarlet fever. Like PANS patients, they also may suffer from uncontrollable emotions, irritability, anxiety and loss of academic ability and handwriting skills. Although PANDAS was identified as a medical syndrome more than a decade before PANS, it has been classified as a subset of PANS. To date, PANDAS is the only known subset of PANS.

Medications for this disease can run as high $10,000 per treatment. If it can be treated early when symptoms of strep throat are evident. Parents should ask their doctors to get a strep test done. Early treatment with antibiotics often will stop the onset of this disease.

The issue here is when insurance denies coverage when the expensive treatments are administered and families are left with the bill. I signed the report to move the bill forward. It is recommended that the strep test be done on all children 18 or younger who show symptoms of strep throat.  Keep in mind you may need to request the test be done by your doctor.

Author: Mark Segebart