House passes Rep. Amore’s bill requiring insurance coverage for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders


            STATE HOUSE – The House today passed legislation (2022-H 7503A) sponsored by Rep. Gregg Amore (D-Dist. 65, East Providence) which would require insurance coverage for the treatment of pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections and pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, children may be diagnosed with pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS) when obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), tic disorder, or both suddenly appear following a streptococcal (strep) infection, such as strep throat or scarlet fever.  The symptoms are usually dramatic, happen “overnight and out of the blue,” and can include motor or vocal tics or both and obsessions, compulsions, or both. In addition to these symptoms, children may become moody or irritable, experience anxiety attacks, or show concerns about separating from parents or loved ones.

“PANDAS can be extremely alarming and scary for children and their families, often leading them to a place of confusion, stress and anxiety.  This bill will ensure that the necessary treatments are available to children and families affected by PANDAS without forcing them to cover the costs out of pocket, providing the health and financial relief that these families deserve,” said Representative Amore.

The bill would require that every group health insurance contract, or every group hospital or medical expense insurance policy, plan, or group policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state, by any health insurance carrier, on or after January 1, 2023, shall provide coverage for treatment of PANDAS and pediatric acute onset neuropsychiatric syndrome, including, but not limited to, the use of intravenous immunoglobin therapy.

The legislation now heads to the Senate where Sen. Valarie J. Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) has introduced the legislation (2022-S 2203A).  The Senate is scheduled to vote on Senator Lawson’s bill on Thursday, May 19.