On October 5, 2017, Kantor & Kantor, LLP joined over 100 advocates on Capitol Hill for The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action’s (EDC) Advocacy Day. Advocacy Day kicked off with welcome-speeches given by long-time EDC champion, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Kitty Westin, one of the founding members of the EDC who lost her daughter Anna Westin to anorexia in 2000. After breakfast and training, advocates descended on Capitol Hill and Kantor & Kantor led a team of six advocates from California, Michigan and Montana. The team met with Senate and House offices to discuss eating disorders and two very important initiatives:
- A letter from Members of Congress addressed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging the CDC to include/re-include eating disorders surveillance questions in the CDC surveys.
- A House and Senate Resolution to designate the last week in February as “National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.”
The letter to the CDC, led by Harvard’s STRIPED, NEDA, EDC and AED, is important because it informs the CDC about the number of Americans that suffer from eating disorders, and impresses on the CDC the importance of national data to better understand eating disorder prevalence and trends so that prevention and treatment efforts can be improved. The letter also relayed deep concerns to the CDC that from 2015 forward, the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey no longer included questions pertaining to fasting, diet pills, vomiting and laxatives. Although individual states had the option of including such questions in their surveys, eating disorder surveillance was no longer being done consistently and comprehensively across the country. According to the EDC, questions relating to eating disorders are “critical to helping researchers and practitioners understand the early signs and symptoms that may be associated with the development of eating disorders, identify regions or communities that are disproportionately affected by eating disorders, and determine whether specific groups – such as veterans or military families – that may need specialized prevention efforts and treatments are being overlooked.”
The House and Senate Resolutions (HR 428 (number to be announced in the Senate)) will, every year, recognize the final week in February as National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. The Resolution’s aim to recognize the prevalence of eating disorders and need for treatment; raise public awareness of eating disorders; acknowledge that eating disorders can be successfully treated and people can recover; and encourage both the government and citizens to promote eating disorder awareness during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
The EDC advances the federal recognition of eating disorders as a public health priority and works to increase federal support of access to treatment. From tirelessly advocating for the passage of the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act (Mental Health Parity), to successfully having provisions of the Anna Westin Act of 2015 included in the 21st Century Cures Act, which passed in December 2016, the EDC’s work is vital to the entire eating disorders field. Kantor & Kantor, LLP is proud to be a Member Organization of the EDC and we look forward to our continued advocacy together. If you are interested in advocating on Capitol Hill, please visit the EDC’s website at www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org.
If you have been denied insurance benefits for treatment, please call Kantor & Kantor for a free consultation or fill out our online contact form.
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