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The Eating Disorders Coalition advances the recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority throughout the United States. There are two main avenues for addressing eating disorders policies at the federal level. The first is to incorporate eating disorders into already existing and moving initiatives. The second avenue is to help define the Congressional agenda by advocating for the drafting and introduction of new bills that improve the lives of people who are affected by eating disorders.


CURRENT POLICY EFFORTS

HHS/EDC/HARVARD UNIVERSITY CO-HOSTED FIRST PEDIATRIC TRAINING ON EATING DISORDERS AS PART OF THE ANNA WESTIN ACT IMPLEMENTATION

 

On Tuesday, Nov.6, 2018, the Eating Disorders Coalition and STRIPED at Harvard University, co-hosted the webinar and e-course "Screening, Symptom Recognition &Referral to Treatment for Eating Disorders in Pediatric Primary Care Settings" in coordination with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women's Health for primary care providers serving children, adolescents, and youth adults. The webinar also included a welcome message from U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams. To access the webinar and view the resources, click here.

 

EDC Authored the First Eating Disorder Congressional Scorecard

The EDC compiled and authored the first congressional scorecard in preparation for the 2018 midterm elections to inform Americans about Members of Congress' record of support for eating disorders policy. The scorecard reflected how each Member of Congress has supported eating disorders policy during the 114th and 115tth Congress. Each member was assigned a letter grade based on the number of policy items they have led or supported. Click here to view the scorecard. 

 

Ensuring a smooth transition during the repeal and replace of the affordable care act (ACA)

On January 12, 2017, EDC Policy Director Katrina Velasquez spoke at the Council for Affordable Healthcare's Congressional briefing about the need for continous coverage for patients experiencing eating disorders.

Alongside other mental health organizations, the EDC has also written Congressional leadership to urge them to protect access to mental health and substance use disorder services and the progress made on mental health parity and the Affordable Care Act. 
 
On June 23rd and July 12th, The EDC has signed onto letters to the US House of representatives oppositing to efforts to roll back the expansion in coverage and consumer protections under the Affordable Care Act and opposing the drastic reduction of funding for the Navigator program and extension of remaining funds to grantees who could steer beneficiaries toward non-ACA compliant insurance products.
 

Research Funding for Eating Disorders under the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP)

The EDC is concerned about eating disorders within the military and the lack of funding for eating disorders research. Nearly 30% of female cadets and 34% of active duty females score at-risk for an eating disorder across all branches of the military - with a very low number of those seeking treatment. The EDC has requested that eating disorders be eligible for research funding under the PRMRP and be considered for the Fiscal Year 2017 Department of Defense Appropriations bill.

Letters requesting eating disorders inclusion for specific Department of Defense research programs have been submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Appropriations Defense Subcommittee. Read the EDC's press release on the requests to the Committee.

 

OTHER POLICY EFFORTS

The EDC used worked with leaders in both the House and Senate to introduce the bipartisan Anna Westin Act of 2015 (H.R. 2515; S. 1865). For details about the introductions of the Anna Westin Act, please refer to the EDC’s press releases.

About Anna Westin

About the Anna Westin Act of 2015

The Anna Westin Act, designed to have a zero or almost zero CBO score, was written to help those affected by eating disorders get the care they need by focusing on improved training and clarity of parity. In addition, the House version of the Anna Westin Act aims to promote truth in advertising and shed light on the harmful effects of altered body images in advertisements:

Training:  The Anna Westin Act aims to help prevent eating disorders by using existing NIMH and SAMHSA funds to provide training for health professionals and school personnel to learn to identify eating disorders and intervene early when precursory symptoms and behaviors arise.

Clarity of Parity: The Anna Westin Act also aims to provide better treatment coverage for those affected by eating disorders by clarifying the congressional intent to include residential treatment in the implementation of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, affording the same protections as other illnesses and thereby decreasing out-of-pocket costs. 


Truth in Advertising: The House bill (H.R. 2515) requires the Federal Trade Commission to study and report on whether regulation is needed for digitally altered images of people in advertising and if so, strategies to achieve regulation.

 

ANNA WESTIN ACT PROVISIONS PASS CONGRESS and are signed into law 

Provisions from the Anna Westin Act were included in comprehensive mental health reform bills, Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) and the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680). HR 2646 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 422-2 in July 2016.

In a final push to pass mental health reform and eating disorders legislation in 2016, EDC signed-on to a letter of support for mental health reform and submitted an additional letter to House leaders on behalf of eating disorders organizations and treatment centers across the U.S. The EDC also submitted a letter to Senate leadership.

On December 7, 2016, the Senate passed mental health reform and the 21st Century Cures Act, including eating disorders provisions from the Anna Westin Act, by a vote of 94 to 5, marking the first time that Congress passed legislation specifically designed to help people with eating disorders.

The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 13, 2016.


 

 

 

 

 





Pictured Above: Kitty Westin, EDC Board Member and Mother of Anna Westin, thanks 

the rulemaking process 

The eating disorders provisions passed in the 21st Century Cures Act will provide for better eating disorders treatment coverage, trainings for health professionals, and public information on eating disorders.  The EDC is currently advocating for Secretary Price to begin the rulemaking process to implement the eating disorders provisions passed in the Cures Act. 

EDC worked with Champions Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Shelley Moore-Capito (R-WV), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), to submit letters with a combined 54 bipartisan Members’ signatures to urge the Secretary to prioritize the eating disorders provisions in the Cures Act.

EDC also led calls to action for Senators to sign-on to a letter to leaders on the Labor-HHS Appropriations Subcommittee to request funding for the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Reform Act of 2016, inlcuding the eating disorders provisions from the Anna Westin Act, within the 21st Century Cures Act.   

Most recently at EDC Advocacy Day in April 2018, EDC and advocates from across the U.S. advocated for implementation of the Anna Westin Act provisions for trainings for health professionals by asking Members of Congress to sign-on to letters urging HHS Secretary Azar to fully implement Section 13006 of the 21st Century Cures Act in order to help health professionals identify warning signs of eating disorders, intervene and refer patients to treatment.

Read the final Senate Letter to Secretary Azar led by Senators Tammy Baldwin [D-WI], Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], and Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] 

Read the final House Letter to Secretary Azar, led by Representatives Ted Deutch [D-FL-22] and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL-27]**

  • **Please note: Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Don Young (R-AK) also signed-on to the final letter, however, are not listed in the letter linked above.