After championing legislation this year to provide insurance coverage for medically-advised treatments for Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorder and Syndrome Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS/PANS), State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) has been appointed to serve on an advisory council that studies the disorder and advises the Illinois Department of Public Health on research, diagnosis, treatment and education relating to the disorder and syndrome.
The PANDAS Advisory Council was created in 2015 through Public Act 99-0320 in the 99th General Assembly, and Breen will serve as part of a combined group of lawmakers, medical professionals and family members with children with PANDAS/PANS to increase public awareness and education of the condition. “It’s an honor to be chosen to serve on this important advisory council, especially since we have families right here in the 48th District who are coping with PANDAS/PANS on a daily basis,” said Breen. “I look forward to our work and hope to shine a light of understanding on the impact and treatment of this condition.”
According to Breen, he initially learned about the disorder after meeting Kate Drury of Lombard, whose son, Charlie, developed PANDAS/PANS after a case of strep throat at the age of eight. “In Charlie’s case, after being treated for strep throat, his immune system essentially began to attack his brain, which led to obsessive-compulsive and other harmful behaviors. The family had to pay out-of-pocket for years due to the relative unknown nature of the condition. On the heels of our recent legislation requiring insurance coverage of PANDAS/PANS, my hope is that we can highlight this disease so that other families obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment much sooner.”
As part of their work, the council will issue a report to the General Assembly each year that includes recommendations concerning:
· Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of the disorder
· Mechanisms to increase clinical awareness and education among physicians, school-based health centers and providers of mental health services
· Outreach to educators and parents
· Development of a network of volunteer experts to assist in education and outreach
“No child should have to suffer through the neurological effects of this syndrome, and I look forward to helping to improve public understanding and treatment options available for those diagnosed with PANDAS/PANS,” Breen said.