BILL TO IMPROVE DETECTION OF REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY SYNDROME BECOMES LAW
(TRENTON) - Legislation Assemblyman Michael Panter championed to establish a reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSDS) education and research program in the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) was today signed into law by Governor Jon S. Corzine.
Panter's measure (A-4208) would promote public awareness of the causes of the neurological disorder, urge early detection and diagnosis, and improve treatment of the syndrome.
"Far too many New Jersey residents are unaware of reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome and the serious threat that this debilitating disorder poses," said Panter (D-Shrewsbury). "Early and accurate diagnosis and treatment are integral to recovery from this mysterious disorder."
RSDS is also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and is a chronic neurological syndrome that affects the nervous system. The malfunction causes nerves to misfire and send constant pain signals to the brain. The syndrome develops in the body in response to a traumatic event, such as an accident or a medical procedure and may follow five percent of all injuries.
"This syndrome often leaves patients in pain, puzzling their families and healthcare professionals," said Panter. "Research, improved diagnosis and treatment will vastly improve the lives of the many New Jerseyans who suffer from this painful condition."
According to the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, people with RSDS report seeing an average of five physicians before being accurately diagnosed. RSDS Symptoms include persistent moderate-to-severe pain, swelling, abnormal skin color changes, skin temperature, sweating, limited range of movement and movement disorders.
Under the new law, the department will:
· Establish a public education program, through the DHSS Web site to promote RSDS education to enable individuals to make informed decisions about their health;
· Notify local health departments, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers about the availability of information concerning RSDS on the department's website;
· Coordinate, promote and offer professional education programs, through institutions of higher education, for health care providers and health-related community-based organizations; and
· Promote research, through both private and public funding sources, to accurately identify, diagnose and treat RSDS.
The law also will allow the Commissioner of DHSS to accept and expend any grants, awards or other funds or appropriations as may be made available for the bill's purposes.
The measure also was sponsored by Assemblymen Eric Munoz (R-Union) and Neil Cohen (D-Union).
The act will take effect this act shall take effect on the 180th day after enactment.