Capito joins bipartisan effort to support diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders


WASHINGTON DC – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.) and a bipartisan group of senators today introduced a bill authorizing the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (the Center), which provides training and technical assistance to healthcare workers, teachers and parents on how to identify eating disorders and help patients recover.

The Center was created in 2018 after the arrangements of Senators Capito, Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) Anna Westin Act were adopted as part of the 21st Century CURES Act.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in continuing the work that Anna Westin Act started on eating disorders,” Senator Capito said. “This legislation will have a profound impact on the millions of Americans with eating disorders and help ensure they are not denied access to the same mental health services as those facing other types of eating disorders. diseases. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that medical providers in our communities are able to identify and refer individuals to appropriate treatment, and the Center is an important tool in achieving this goal.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, pediatric emergency room admissions for eating disorders have doubled and teen eating disorder diagnoses have increased by 30% year over year. Eating disorders have the second highest death rate of any mental illness. Only one in three people affected by eating disorders will receive treatment, with people of color half as likely to be diagnosed or receive treatment for eating disorders.

the Anna Westin Inheritance Act authorizes $5 million in Center funding for each of fiscal years 2023 to 2027 to:

  • Adapting screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) models for a pediatric population.
  • Expand adaptive in-person and online eating disorder training modules to reach more frontline professionals.
  • Consult the Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on preventing, identifying, and treating eating disorders for veterans and military members.
  • Facilitate the integration of SBIRT for eating disorders into electronic health record systems.

This legislation is named in honor of Anna Westin of Chaska, Minnesota, who was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 16. Despite the urgency of her condition, Anna had to wait for her insurance company to ‘certify’ her treatment, ultimately delaying and limiting the treatment she received. After battling the disease for five years, Anna died at the age of 21.

the Anna Westin Inheritance Act is supported by the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action, American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy, American Association for Psychoanalysis in Clinical Social Work, American Association on Health & Disability, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Group Psychotherapy Association, American Psychological Association, Lakeshore Foundation, Anxiety & Depression Association of America, Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, Children and Adults with Attention-Defict/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Clinical Social Work Association, Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance, Global Alliance for Behavioral Health & Social Justice, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, National Association of Social Workers, National Nursing League, REDC Consortium, SMART Recover, National Council for Mental Wellness and Mental Health America.

Senators Capito, Klobuchar and Baldwin have worked to reduce online content that may promote eating disorders. In October, they sent a letter to Facebook, which owns Instagram, expressing concern that Instagram content is encouraging eating disorders among young users, especially teenagers and girls.

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