U.S. Congress Passes Historic Eating Disorders Legislation
RNewswise — eston, VA, December 9, 2016 – History has been made. On December 7, 2016, the United States Congress passed the first-ever eating disorder legislation. By an overwhelming margin, 94 to 5, the United States Senate voted to pass the 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform Act. This important bill will soon be placed into the hands of the President of the United States to sign into law.
The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC), a tireless advocate in moving this multifaceted, potentially life-saving bill through Congress, summarized the Act as “a comprehensive mental health bill that aims to combat suicide in our schools and communities, increase the mental health workforce, strengthen enforcement of the mental health parity law, invest in early intervention, integrate health and mental health care, and strengthen the community crisis response system, among other things.” Of particular significance to The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED), the 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform Act includes provisions from the Anna Westin Act which are focused on strengthening and clarifying current mental health parity law as it relates to eating disorders, enforcing reimbursement for eating disorders treatment by insurers, providing education and training for healthcare professionals, and increasing public education resources in areas of early intervention and prevention.
The AED is hopeful that improved legislation will address existing and inadequate gaps in treatment for eating disorders. “Too many lives have been lost – too many patients and their families have suffered already because of inadequate insurance coverage or failure to recognize the importance of this disease,” said the Executive Director of the Academy for Eating Disorders, Elissa Myers.
The AED applauds members of Congress for their overwhelmingly supportive votes, and members of the Eating Disorders Coalition, especially Kitty Westin, who have been pursuing these important advances for the eating disorders community for many years. For more information about the legislation visit the Eating Disorders Coalition at www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org.
The Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) is an international professional association committed to the leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention. The goal of the AED is to provide global access to knowledge, research, and best treatment practice for eating disorders. For additional information, please contact Elissa Myers at (703) 626-9087 and visit the AED website at www.aedweb.org.