Marylanders can now test their cholesterol from home thanks to a new state law.
Marylanders can now test their cholesterol from home thanks to a new state law. (Shutterstock)

Did you know that you can measure your cholesterol at home? What about your testosterone levels? Even your fertility hormones? These home tests, which line the shelves of Target and CVS stores across the nation, weren’t available in our state until last week, due to a wholesale ban on the advertisement of laboratory testing in Maryland.

Starting Oct. 1, residents of Maryland gained full access to home health tests, thanks to a new law (“Here are some of the new Maryland laws going into effect this week," Sept. 30). As one of the major sponsors of this bill, I’m proud to have done my part to give Marylanders more health care choices to help them be more proactive about managing and preventing chronic illnesses and looking after their wellness.

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Julia Cheek, a business owner from Texas who came to Maryland to make a case for increased access to testing, provided particularly compelling testimony about the challenges she faced when trying to diagnose a health issue of her own. Her experience led her to found EverlyWell, one of the companies that sells the types of home lab testing kits that can be accessed in Maryland starting today. Ms. Cheek’s experience wasn’t compelling for all the things that made it rare. Rather, it was compelling for all the things that made it commonplace: the waiting rooms, the hand wringing while you wait for someone to call you with your results days or weeks later and bills that can be difficult to predict.

The benefits of being able to take basic laboratory tests at home are hard to ignore. In a time when one million new cases of STDs are diagnosed every day, Lyme disease diagnoses are reaching record levels, and one out of 10 Americans are living with diabetes, anything that helps people stay healthier is a step in the right direction. Indeed, innovative testing options like these help protect our most vulnerable citizens: those who are uninsured, on high-deductible insurance plans, lack reliable access to transportation or otherwise find it difficult to go to the doctor as often as they should.

To myself and my fellow delegates, SB 495 represents progress. It’s a solid step toward making sure every person who lives in our great state has access to many testing options to stay healthy.

Bonnie Cullison

The writer is chair of the Maryland House of Delegate’s Subcommittee on Insurance and Pharmaceuticals and the sponsor of HB 526, the House’s version of SB 495.

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