Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eating Disorders Advocate Testifies at AMA

Laura Collins, the founder of F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders), testified this morning at the AMA’s Interim Meeting in Washington, D.C., in support of a resolution calling on the AMA to advocate for federal legislation requiring full insurance coverage of medically appropriate treatments for eating disorders (ED), including inpatient, outpatient, and maintenance care. At left is David Fassler, M.D., the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's alternate delegate, who also spoke in support of the resolution.

Collins and Fassler explained that despite the parity law and the Affordable Care Act, not all insurance policies cover comprehensive treatment for eating disorders.

“Why do we need a full spectrum of ED treatment covered by insurance? Because EDs are treatable, but we’re not doing it," Collins said. "Yes, eating disorders are treatable brain disorders. They are not a ‘problem with food’ or a weight issue. They are not a choice by the patient nor are they caused by bad parenting or size 0 models. They are a treatable problem with the brain. Untreated, or treated inadequately, eating disorders maim and kill. When my daughter became ill, I learned for the first time that my dear 14-year-old girl had a 1-in-10 chance of dying of her anorexia—1 in 10.

"What I didn’t know then was that newer treatments can have far higher rates of recovery in a much shorter timeframe. Others need more. But few were getting any. We need insurance coverage to save lives: early intervention and access to care across settings works....The current situation for American families facing a newly diagnosed eating disorder is grim. We face a revolving door of emergency care instead of access to the care needed early on. We second-mortgage homes, drain retirement, but more often simply don’t pursue care due to financial constraints—for a treatable problem. These patients are not dying of their disorder; they are dying from lack of access and lack of coordination."

For more information, see the Psychiatric News article "Eating Disorders May Pose Greater Risk in Type 1 Diabetes" and Developing an Evidence-Based Classification of Eating Disorders: Scientific Findings for DSM-5, published by American Psychiatric Publishing.
 (Image: Mark Moran)


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