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Historic Day for the Eating Disorders Community

Historic Day for the Eating Disorders Community


The eating disorder community is celebrating throughout the country!  The reason is that the Senate has passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes key aspects of the once stand alone bill, the Anna Westin Act.  With only The President's desk remaining, individuals and families affected by eating disorders, as well as eating disorder professionals have already begun to rejoice and thank those who have worked tirelessly for the advancement in recognition of eating disorders as a public health issue.    


On November 30th, the U.S. House of Representatives had an overwhelming bipartisan vote in favor of The 21st Century Cures Act, moving it to Senate floor for their vote.  Mental health advocates anxiously awaited the Senate vote while progressing in their efforts to ensure that their voice was heard loud, clear and often.  Advocates and constituents took to social media and also called Senate offices to inform Senate representatives that this piece of legislation needed his/her vote.   The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness and the Eating Disorders Coalition were leaders in this call for action.  Consequently, Florida constituents had a resounding influence in ensuring that it was known this piece of legislation was needed and important to Floridians.


The work was rewarded with the passing of legislation (The 21st Century Cures Act) that will save lives.  The leading advocacy organizations as well as its members hope that this bill will transform the eating disorder community through advanced research, education, and access to care.  The 21st Century Cures Act (2016) is the first bill that addresses the under acknowledged and underserved eating disorder population.  There are three sections in the bill that are relevant for eating disorders: (1) Information and Awareness of Eating Disorders, (2) Education and Training on Eating Disorders, and (3) Clarification of Existing Parity Rules.  The Department of Health and Human Services will be tasked with the duty of implementing the sections of the bill related to eating disorders.  The bill allows for Health and Human Services to update resource lists and fact sheets related to eating disorders and increase public awareness on the signs and symptoms of eating disorders and treating individuals with eating disorders.  These initiatives would be developed to weave into existing programs and activities.  Furthermore, the bill permits the Department to facilitate identification of model programs and materials for educating and training health professionals in effective strategies to identify individuals with eating disorders, provide early intervention services and refer patients to appropriate treatment.  Finally, the bill requires clarification of  coverage of eating disorder benefits, including residential treatment, under existing mental health parity requirements.


The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness is thrilled with the news that Congress has passed the 21st Century Cures Act.  We are deeply grateful for the leadership of Congressman Ted Deutch who represents the Florida district where The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness office is located.  Congressman Deutch has shared his time and passionate spirit with us, and we honor his unwavering focus to have eating disorders recognized as an important issue and included in this bill. We also want to express our many thanks for the time our supporters, volunteers and staff took to call Senate offices, post to social media, and share within their networks, for the purpose of advancing recognition of the bill and the importance of its successful passing.  The Alliance looks forward to continuing our education of health professional with the goal of becoming a recognized leader in the training and education of these professionals.





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