Nybo: Charlie’s Law ensures life-saving treatment for a devastating children’s illness

“Charlie’s Law,” legislation cosponsored by State Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) broke ground today by making Illinois the first state in the nation to require health insurers to cover life-saving treatments for children who suffer from autoimmune disorders associated with streptococcal infections. Governor Bruce Rauner penned the bill to law at the Drury family household in Lombard on July 18.

Also in attendance was the Brejcha family, another local inspiration for the vital medical initiative. Griffin Brejcha, nine-year-old son of Scott and Kendra, also suffers from PANDAS. Thanks to Charlie’s Law, he will be able to begin his medical treatment with health insurance coverage over the coming weeks.

“Thank you so much to the Governor for signing this bill,” said Nybo. “My good friend Scott Brejcha has a son who is about to receive treatment with state medical coverage, a prime example of why this legislation is so important. As a parent of a daughter who has diabetes, I have firsthand experience dealing with insurance companies and being denied, and fighting for coverage to treat her.”

House Bill 2721 is an urgent response to a near-deadly incident in Lombard when 8-year-old Charlie Drury’s diagnosis of strep throat evolved into a severe and common mental disorder in children known as PANDAS (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections), which can be cured by a specialized vaccine or medically-advised treatments. The law mandates that insurance companies must provide coverage for the treatment of PANDAS and pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS).

Without health coverage to treat PANDAS, families across Illinois and the country have suffered from crippling medical costs and expenses associated with treatments which can surpass $10,000 per treatment. Nybo is honored to be a sponsor on Charlie’s Law and help children overcome the devastating neuro disorder, and offer parents some peace of mind during treatment.

“Anything that we can do in this state to get medical treatment for kids who need it, I will always be on board,” said Nybo. “I’m delighted to see this bill signed, especially after having gotten unanimous support in the State Legislature.”

Nybo urges other state legislators across the country to introduce Charlie’s Law in their General Assembly, as part of a national campaign to increase awareness about the effects and treatment of PANDAS in children.

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