Eating Disorders History Made Mental Health Bill Passes in Senate HELP Committee Including Eating Di Eating Disorders History Made Mental Health Bill Passes in Senate HELP Committee Including Eating Disorders Provisions from Senator Shelley Moore Capito’s Anna Westin Act of 2015
PoliticalNews.me - Mar 17,2016 - WASHINGTON, DC. (March 17, 2016) — Yesterday was a historic day for the 30 million Americans experiencing an eating disorder during their lifetimes, and the more than 60,000 West Virginians currently experiencing an eating disorder, as well as their families and treatment providers. For the first time in history, legislation specifically designed to help people with eating disorders passed with unanimous, bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. The bill will likely reach the Senate Floor for vote in mid to late April of 2016.
The Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680) led by Senator Lamar Alexander [R-TN], Patty Murray [D-WA], Chris Murphy [D-CT] and Bill Cassidy [R-LA] was officially introduced in the Senate on Tuesday and passed in the Senate HELP Committee by 11:00 AM EST yesterday morning. S. 2680 included key provisions from four women Senators’, including Senator Shelley Moore Capito, bipartisan, bicameral Anna Westin Act of 2015 (S. 1865). The key elements included were early identification of eating disorders trainings for health professional such as doctors, enhanced information, resources and public service announcements to help early identification of eating disorders by the public, and clarification of existing mental health parity law to improve health insurance coverage of life-saving residential treatment for eating disorders.
“After recently visiting the West Virginia University Disordered Eating Center and learning more about the millions of Americans who suffer from eating disorders but don’t receive treatment, I am 100 percent focused on bringing relief to those coping with this very difficult disease. I am pleased that the HELP Committee advanced key provisions of the Anna Westin Act and look forward to this legislation receiving a vote on the Senate floor,” said Senator Capito.
Senator Capito introduced the Anna Westin Act of 2015 just a short eight months ago along with her colleagues Senator Amy Klobuchar [D-MN], Kelly Ayotte [R-NH], and Tammy Baldwin [D-WI]. The Anna Westin Act was named in honor of Chaska, Minnesota-native Anna Westin who struggled with anorexia for five years and lost her life due to the illness at the young age of 21. To learn more about Anna’s story, Netsmart’s EveryDayMatters created a short video that can be viewed here.
Kitty Westin, mother of Anna Westin and Board Member of the Eating Disorders Coalition stated, "A few days prior to her death, my daughter, Anna told me to keep dreaming of a future filled with joy and love and to never let my voice die.” Mrs. Westin continued, “I took her words to heart, and I have spent 16 years being her voice and the voice for millions of Americans who are fighting eating disorders. Today I feel like all of our voices were heard and we are on the brink of passing historic legislation that will change the way we understand and treat eating disorders.”
Since the bill’s introduction, four of the Senate leaders have taken proactive steps to gain bipartisan support both inside and outside of the Senate HELP