Thursday, July 2, 2015

Senate Version of #AnnasLaw

Dear EDC Supporters,

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
We are so very very happy and honored to share with you this news: Senator Kelly Ayotte has agreed ‪#‎AnnasLaw‬ in the Senate.  Senator Ayotte's commitment to ‪#‎mentalhealth‬ is just one of the reasons we are so proud to have her as our Republican lead. 
Some of the Senator's legislative actions on #mentalhealth include:

‪#‎SenatorAyotte‬ has introduced or cosponsored several bills that seek to strengthen our nation's mental health system, including The Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153) which would provide support for training programs to help the public identify, understand, and address crisis situations safely.  In addition, #SenatorAyotte cosponsored the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act, which included modified provisions of the Mental Health First Aid Act and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, as well as other important mental health initiatives.  When the bill came before the Senate as an amendment, it was approved by a vote of 95-2! 

#SenatorAyotte was a cosponsor of the Caring for America's Heroes Act (S. 2276).  The Caring for America's Heroes Act sought to improve mental health care for military dependents and retirees.  This bill removed inpatient day-limits to promote access to medically necessary and appropriate mental health services, helping to ensure that military dependents and retirees covered under TRICARE are treated in the same manner for inpatient mental health services as they would be for treatment of physical injuries.  This is a bill that EDC advocates have worked to proudly support, as well.

For her leadership on mental health legislation, the Senator has been honored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Council for Behavioral Health.

We are honored and encouraged to have #SenatorAyotte by our side as we work to formally introduce #AnnasLaw in the Senate.  Thank you to the Senator and her staff! ‪#‎TheTimeISNow‬ to ensure ‪#‎Not1MoreLife2ED‬

Friday, June 12, 2015

#AnnasLaw by Kitty Westin



EDC guest blog post by Kitty Westin:

I am honored to write a guest blog for the Eating Disorders Coalition about the Anna Westin Act of 2015(HR2515). 

I am Anna’s mom and I have been working for the past 15 years, since Anna died, to pass eating disorder specific legislation that will help prevent other families from suffering like our family has.  This has not been easy and at times it has felt like I was pushing an iceberg uphill.  I feel more hopeful now then I have ever felt; my work and the work of countless others is paying off!  The EDC has created a bill that has a good chance of passing and finally realizing the dream of fighting eating disorders with Federal legislation.

Now that the Anna Westin Act ("Anna’s Law") has been introduced, the EDC thought it would be helpful for advocates to learn how the “dream” of eating disorder legislation became a reality.  You may remember your 8th grade civics class and the educational short film “I’m Just a Bill”? [Check it out on YouTube for a blast from the past!!] ... Well, the EDC began working on federal legislation to address eating disorders just 15 years ago.  The EDC policy team has over 25 years of experience working on mental health issues on Capitol Hill and we have a wealth of experience and we understand the good, the bad and the ugly of politics.

Like the video "I'm Just A Bill" shows, developing, introducing and finally passing federal legislation is complex, time consuming and can be frustrating at times.  Before new legislation is introduced, there are countless planning meetings and thousands of hours spent flushing things out behind the scenes.  Hours of discussions and hundreds of revisions take place before a proposed bill is ready to “shop” around in Congressional offices.  Finding sponsors who will support the proposed bill is necessary, but sometimes it can be difficult.  Once a lead sponsor is identified, a new round of meetings take place before a bill is given the go ahead to be introduced in the House or the Senate.  This process can be arduous and may take many months or even years.  This process requires patience, building relationships, negotiations and accepting compromise.

Compromising during the drafting of a bill, especially when you are passionate about your cause, is difficult.  It is never easy to agree to eliminate specific language from a bill that you know will benefit your cause.  However, being unwilling to compromise can produce a bill that will likely die in committee, which is something no one wants.

A perfect example of compromise is the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 ("MHParity").  The EDC, along with our mental health colleagues and advocates, worked tirelessly to pass a parity bill that was comprehensive and included all diagnoses in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (often referred to as the DSM).  We both spoke at and attended Congressional hearings, met with Members of Congress in both the House and Senate and we lobbied hard for our cause.  However, in the final hours we had to compromise. The inclusive language that we fought so hard to keep in MHParity was taken out.  If we had continued to dig in and been unwilling to compromise, the MHParity bill would have died (aka: never passed), and along with it, the provisions of the bill that, since its passage, has allowed millions of people to access mental health and addiction treatment.  So, essentially, we lived to fight another day.

Currently, the EDC is in a similar situation as MHParity was.  As so many of you know, we all had a comprehensive bill called the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders ("FREED") Act that was first introduced in 2009.  FREED was the first comprehensive eating disorders-specific bill in US history --over 200 years of Congress.  To create FREED, the EDC held two national policy conferences that brought together patients, families, providers, researchers, education and prevention experts, advocates, and more --much like our EDC National Lobby Days do now.  At the time we first created and introduced FREED, both houses of Congress were fairly favorable to passing sweeping legislation that addressed mental health issues.  However, the climate changed in Washington, DC, and in order to get a bill introduced that had any chance of passing, we once again had to compromise.  For example, we eliminated language from FREED that would have put warning labels on diet pills and laxatives and we took out language that mandated that the American Medical Association teach medical students about eating disorders.  As important as those provisions are to the eating disorders community, we knew we had to compromise in order to introduce a bill that would be supported by both parties.

As the political climate continued to change in DC, the EDC had to once again step away and consider our next move.  The result of this process was the creation of a new eating disorders-specific bill: the Anna Westin Act of 2015 ("#AnnasLaw"). The decisions related to what to include and not include in #AnnasLaw were taken seriously and not done in a vacuum.  We worked hard, did our homework and sent our policy team into both Democratic and Republican offices to get ideas and feedback.  In addition, we spoke with EDC member organizations, individual advocates and we invited the public to contact the EDC with suggestions.  We took all ideas seriously and into consideration.  The components of #AnnasLaw were carefully thought out to make it appealing to both Democrats and Republicans.  Already, many of our friends in both the House and Senate have confirmed that they will support#AnnasLaw.

In addition, the EDC worked with our Republican and Democratic leaders over many months and negotiated several revisions before a final version of the Anna Westin Act was agreed upon.  To that end, we are especially grateful that we have bi-partisan support on Capitol Hill, which can be rare in this political climate.  Also, we fully understand that #AnnasLaw does not address every single issue that could be addressed in a bill --but we do firmly believe that the Anna Westin Act of 2015 is a very solid bill, with a high probability of passing into law (which is pertinent to helping us have a chance to create long-standing change).  We encourage you that it is important to keep in mind that our work will not cease once #AnnasLaw is introduced.  Once #AnnasLaw is signed by the President, then we immediately begin work to strengthen the bill and assist with the provisions within and the final rules (to the extent possible).  In essence, please be assured that the EDC will continue to work with members of Congress to address all of the issues important to the eating disorders community, via #AnnasLaw and other legislative and regulatory work.

The EDC sincerely hopes that the entire eating disorder community will get behind the Anna Westin Act.  I love the EDC, but/and, I am also Anna’s mom, so I come to you now as her mom:  I am asking you to join me in making certain that eating disorders get the attention of policy makers in Washington D.C.  To be perfectly honest, having a law introduced with my daughter’s name attached has brought me very mixed emotions.  I have felt extremely sad because it is too late for Anna.  I have felt anger because why has this taken so long? And, most importantly, I have renewed hope that we can get this done and Anna’s death will not have been in vain.  Anna’s law is NOT about Anna but it is about getting the attention of Congress in a way that will help the millions of people who are affected by eating disorders.  Together we can fight eating disorders by making certain that medical professionals and others are adequately trained, that Mental Health Parity is enforced and that we truly understand the power of advertising and the effect it has on the self-esteem of our youth. We know that by working together we can continue to make progress in the fight against eating disorders.  #TheTimeIsNow for #AnnasLaw.

To learn more about Anna Westin: https://youtu.be/kjFP_4P7EKc
To learn more about the EDC: www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Historic Day: #AnnasLawHR2515

Dear countless and tireless EDC Advocates...

Today is the historic day that the Anna Westin Act of 2015 was officially placed in the hopper on the floor of the House of Representatives...and #AnnasLaw was thus officially introduced as HR2515!!

We cannot find words enough to say how grateful we are to our champions on the Hill, Congressman Ted Deutch and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and their staff, for their commitment to helping us craft, draft, re-work, re-write and push #AnnasLaw through legislative counsel.

And although we will continue to try, at present, we simply cannot find words fitting enough to convey our thanks to EACH OF YOU.  For each of you  helped in countless ways throughout the existence of the +EDCoalition1 --whether you are a Member Organization or an individual advocate-- YOUR support, ideas and feedback were the inspiration for us conceiving that we should name a bill in memory of Anna Selina Westin. 
 

Anna's Law, like so many other pieces of legislation, is not a bill that will solve all the problems faced by all those impacted by eating disorders.  But Anna's Law IS a bill that WILL solve SO MANY problems...and that will lead to greater awareness, greater understanding, less stigma and less lives lost to eating disorders!! #AnnasLaw is a necessary step in the right direction, with bi-partisan support, for all those impacted by #eatingdisorders and we truly believe that #TheTimeIsNow to pass #AnnasLaw.

Since the time #AnnasLaw was placed in the hopper this morning, we have already lost another 5 lives (at minimum) to #eatingdisorders...a treatable disease.  Who were the five people?  Who did they leave behind?  What would their lives have become had they had access to adequate treatment, had their doctors been trained to identify and intervene...?  We will never know.  But what we DO know is that their deaths, just like Anna's, Leslie's, Reanna's, Nicole's, TJ's, and the countless others who have died from "ED", were unnecessary.  

^^^THEY ARE WHY: #TheTimeIsNow.  Because every 62 minutes we let go by without passing #AnnasLaw, at least one more precious life is lost.  #MembersofCongress, we call on you to be the change. Please, lend your name to the Anna Westin Act of 2015. 

May all those who are counting on #AnnasLaw be filled with a renewed hope today.  May all those who feel they don't have a voice against #eatingdisorders know that YOU DO have a voice and YOUR voice CAN make a difference...YOU CAN help pass #AnnasLaw. 


With heartfelt gratitude to all who made this day possible. ~The EDC

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

URGENT Action Alert

Dear EDC Advocates:
 
If you live in New Hampshire, please reach out to Senator Ayotte’s office THIS WEEK and encourage to become the Republican lead of the Senate version of the Anna Westin Act of 2015. Here are the two ways to do this:
• Phone- 202-224-3324
• Online- http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact

 
Below are the scripts to follow in your email and/or call. 
Please keep your emails no more than three paragraphs b/c staff members (staffers) are busy and receive lots of emails every day. [If you call and the staffer has any questions that you can't answer, please just write down the Question and let them know that the EDC will get back to them with an Answer. Then, just email us the question and we'll follow up. :-)] 

Please share this with anyone you wish. Thank you, The EDC

EMAIL SCRIPT:

Dear Senator Ayotte,

My name is [Name] and I live in [City], New Hampshire and I am [list occupation --student, stay at home parent, etc.]. I’ve just heard from the Eating Disorders Coalition that you have shown interest in co-leading the Anna Westin Act of 2015! I am so thrilled that you are interested in taking up this issue that affects so many people, and I highly encourage the Senator to make the decision to take up this issue.
I care about eating disorders because [insert brief synopsis of personal story here.]  As you may know, Rep. Deutch [D-FL] and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL] will be introducing the House version of the Anna Westin Act within the next week. This will be the first time in nearly a decade that eating disorders legislation will be introduced with bipartisan support. I hope that we can do the same on the Senate side, with your support.

Sincerely, Name and Address

CALL SCRIPT:


If you call an office: Remember To Talk Slowly To The Staffer Who Answers The Phone…  "Hello, my name is [Name] and I live in [City], New Hampshire and I am [list occupation --student, stay at home parent, etc.]. I’ve just heard from the Eating Disorders Coalition that Senator Ayotte has shown interest in co-leading the Anna Westin Act of 2015! I am so thrilled that the Senator are interested in taking up this issue that affects so many people, and I highly encourage the Senator to make the decision to take up this issue.
I care about eating disorders because [insert brief synopsis of personal story here.]  As you may know, Rep. Deutch [D-FL] and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL] will be introducing the House version of the Anna Westin Act within the next week. This will be the first time in nearly a decade that eating disorders legislation will be introduced with bipartisan support. I hope that we can do the same on the Senate side, with your boss' support. The bill is designed to have a zero to almost zero CBO score.  Thank you so much for your time."

please let us (The EDC) know if you call/email the Senator's office.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

ACTION ALERT: EDCVirtualLobbyDay

Dear AMAZING advocates --

#TheTimeIsNow to use your voice to advocate for #AnnasLaw!!! If you aren't able to be in DC for #EDCNationalLobbyDay, you CAN STILL USE YOUR VOICE to advocate!  Here's how: #EDCVirtualLobbyDay!!

 
YOU ONLY NEED TO DO ONE THING ON MAY 13, 2015:

1. MAKE ONE PHONE CALL to your Congressman/woman’s office on May 13, 2015!

 OR

2.  FILL OUT ONE ONLINE CONTACT FORM (similar to an email) to your Congressman/woman’s office on May 13, 2015!



To find out WHO your Member of Congress is, please go to: www.house.gov and enter your zip code.

Whether you call or fill out an online form, here is a 'script' for you to use:

If you call an office: 

Remember To Talk Slowly To The Staff Member (staffer) Who Answers The Phone…

"Hello, my name is [Say your full name] from [City, State].  I am a constituent of the Congressman/ woman and I am calling today to request your boss’ support of the Anna Westin Act of 2015. [Pause for them to get a pen and paper ready.] Would you possibly be able to communicate this message to the team? [Likely the staffer will say yes, otherwise they may send you to a voicemail- This is all normal :-)] Then you share the following: The Anna Westin Act is a bipartisan bill to be introduced this week by Rep. Ted Deutch and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. The Act covers the 3 T's- Training, Treatment, and Truth in Advertising.

o   Training of- Health professionals, School personnel, and the public
o   Treatment- Clarity of Parity for Residential Treatment Services
o   Truth in Advertisement- FTC study on whether or not there should be regulation over digitally altered (photoshopped) advertisements.

·         The bill is designed to have a zero to almost zero CBO score.

·        You can contact Rep. Deutch or Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s offices or the Eating Disorders Coalition Policy Director at kmason@eatingdisorderscoalition.org for more information.
·         Thank you so much. You can reach me at [your email address] or send letters to [your physical address.]"

Two Points:

1. If you fill out the online form, please use the script above --feel free to copy/paste ;-) 
2. If the staffer asks you any questions that you cannot answer, NO WORRIES!! Just let them know that you will follow up with the EDC and the EDC will get back to them.



After you make your calls or emails, please email Kathleen at: km@eatingdisorderscoalition.org or comment on our FB status about this Action Alert to let us and our fellow-advocates know that you participated ...and also please share what participating in this important Action Alert and using your voice meant to you.


Thank you so much for helping make a difference. ~ Our work continues… All of us here at the EDC

EDC National Lobby Day Final Details

May 12, 2015
Washington, DC

We are SO excited to see everyone tonight and tomorrow...and we can hardly believe that #TheTimeIsNow is finally upon us --a long-time in the making, it's time to introduce #AnnasLaw. 

5 POINTS OF BUSINESS IN THIS UPDATE:
1. Thank you's to our champions
2. National Virtual Lobby Day 2b. TWEET-SUPPORT
3. Anna's Law summary/recap
4. Weather in DC
5. Taking care of YOU



 

1. THANK YOU: to Congressman Ted Deutch​ and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen​ for your dedication to our cause. Without your hard work, and your staff (especially Joel and Wes) we would not have such an incredible bill to advocate for, on behalf of ALL those impacted by #eatingdisorders. Looking forward to seeing you tonight and honoring you, our champions.

2. IF YOU CAN'T BE IN DC: YOUR VOICE STILL MATTERS GREATLY! IF YOU WANT TO ADVOCATE:  EDC National Virtual Lobby Day launches tomorrow and runs from 9am - 5:30pm EST.  We will be making calls to our Representatives (House).  We'll post all the info you need in order to make your calls, INCLUDING A SCRIPT TO GUIDE YOUR CALLS.  2b. WE ALSO ASK FOR YOUR TWEET-SUPPORT tomorrow.  Hashtag: #AnnasLaw  We'll post our top-10 Tweets later today!! (a long-time and wonderful EDC advocate, Nicole, is currently creating them for us!)

3. ANNA'S LAW SUMMARY/RECAP: Here are just a few ways to continue learning about #AnnasLaw: 
--EDC blog: http://eatingdisorderscoalition.blogspot.com/2015/05/annaslaw-top-10.html 
--The Anna Westin Story: video https://youtu.be/kjFP_4P7EKc
--SIGN UP with the EDC to receive updates: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FriendsoftheEDC

4. WEATHER: OK, so we tried...but like many things, the weather is out of our control.  It's going to be HOT AND HUMID today -so please, please, please take extra care to HYDRATE well.  Dress for the weather, wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella to block out the sun.

5. (Perhaps most importantly)TAKING CARE OF YOU while in DC: 

#eatingdisorders.  Looking forward to seeing you tonight and honoring you, our champions.
There is nothing more important than taking EXCELLENT care of your Self always --but especially while you are here for EDC National Lobby Day.  Today and tomorrow are going to be FULL days --full of emotion, hard work, education, walking, walking, walking, and so much more.  We need you to be responsible for your well-being and make sure to tend to yourself and your needs above everything else. Advocates are the heart of the EDC, so please make sure that you take extra good care so we can hear your voice tomorrow and for years to come. 

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT EDC NATIONAL LOBBY DAY, please email us: km@eatingdisorderscoalition.org

See you soon!! ~ All of us here at the EDC


Monday, May 11, 2015

#AnnasLaw Top 10


UPDATE ON #AnnasLaw
Washington, DC
May 11, 2015


Legislative Counsel finalizing Anna Westin Act

 As you probably know by now, the Anna Westin Act of 2015 (Anna's Law) is named in memory of Anna Selina Westin who died as a direct result of anorexia nervosa and inadequate access to treatment.  Anna's mom, Kitty Westin, and her family, have been tireless advocates since Anna's death -in hopes of preventing another family from suffering like their family did as a result of anorexia. And, as you probably know by now, Anna's Law focuses on "The Three T's" --Training, Treatment and Truth in Advertising.  

Now that we have the go-ahead from our champions on Capitol Hill to share more, we are thrilled to share with you "AnnasLaw Top 10" --the top 10 reasons we love what you helped create in #AnnasLaw:

1.  #AnnasLaw is ZERO cost;
2.  #AnnasLaw is bi-partisan from the start;
3.  #AnnasLaw includes the following "FINDINGS: 
(a) Risk of death among individuals with anorexia nervosa is 18 times greater than their same age peers without anorexia. It is estimated that at least one person dies every 62 minutes from an eating disorder; at least 23 persons each day; (b) Health consequences such as osteoporosis (brittle bones), gastrointestinal complications, cardiac, and dental problems are significant health and financial burdens throughout life; (c) At lowest estimate, 14.5 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. One percent of adolescent boys and two percent of adolescent girls suffer from eating disorders; eating disorders account for at least four percent of all childhood hospitalizations; (d) Eating disorders are treatable biopsychosocial illnesses. There is a high rate of co-morbidity with other illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, or anxiety disorders; (e) Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by self-starvation, weight loss, fear of gaining weight and disturbances in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced (body image disturbance);(g) Anorexia nervosa is associated with serious health consequences including heart failure, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and death. People who suffer anorexia nervosa are 57 times more likely to die of suicide than their peers; (h) Bulimia nervosa has a prevalence rate of 1.5 percent among American women, 0.5 percent among American men; (i) Bulimia nervosa is associated with serious health consequences, including cardiac, gastro intestinal, and dental problems including irregular heartbeats, gastric rupture, peptic ulcer, tooth decay, and death; (j) Binge eating disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating. Binge eating disorder is common: at lowest estimate, 3.5 percent of American women and 2.0 percent of American men will suffer from this disorder in their lifetime; (k) Binge eating is often associated with obesity, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, elevated triglyceride levels, increased risk of bowel, breast and reproductive cancers, increased risk of diabetes, and increased risk of arthritic damage to the joints; (l) Many suffer from some, but not all, of the symptoms of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, which is referred to as other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). Between 4 percent and 20 percent of young women practice unhealthy patterns of dieting, purging, and binge eating; (m) Eating disorders are more common in women, but they do occur in men. Rates of binge eating disorder are similar in females and males; (n) Academic evidence has demonstrated a connection between the use of very thin models in advertising and consumer attitudes toward a brand based on such advertising, as well as a material influence of the use of such models on consumer purchase intent, conduct, and reliance; and (o) Eating disorders appear across all age groups, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic groups in the United States and are associated with substantial psychological problems, including depression, substance abuse, and suicide. For children 12 years of age and younger, hospitalizations for eating disorders increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2006.

4.  #AnnasLaw includes: TRAINING AND EDUCATION.  In essence, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Office on Women’s Health of the Department of Health and Human Services and in consultation with the Secretary of Education, will revise and then reinstate the BodyWise Handbook and related fact sheets and resource lists available on the public Internet site of the National Women’s Health Information Center sponsored by the Office on Women’s Health, to include—updated findings and conclusions as needed; and thorough information about eating dis-orders relating to males as well as females; incorporate information from such BodyWise Handbook and related facts sheets and resource lists into the curriculum of the BodyWorks obesity prevention program developed by the Office on Women’s Health and training modules used in such obesity prevention program; and promote and make publicly available (whether through a public Internet site or other method that does not impose a fee on users) the BodyWise Handbook and related fact sheets and resource lists, as updated under paragraph (1), and the BodyWorks obesity prevention program, as updated under paragraph (2), including for purposes of educating universities and nonprofit entities on eating disorders.

5. #AnnasLaw includes: EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS. In essence, grants will be awarded so grant recipients can integrate training into existing curricula for primary care physicians, other licensed or certified health and mental health professionals, and public health professionals that may include: (here's one of our favorite parts of the bill! --->) ‘‘early intervention and identification of eating disorders; levels of treatment; how to properly refer patients to treatment; steps to aid in the prevention of the development of eating disordered behaviors; and how to treat individuals with eating disorders.  Those who receive grants need to employ a training program that contains: evidence-based findings, promising emerging best practices, or recommendations that pertain to the identification, early intervention, prevention of the development of eating disordered behaviors, and treatment of eating disorders to conduct educational training and conferences, including Internet based courses and teleconferences, on— how to help prevent the development of eating disordered behaviors, identify, intervene early, and appropriately and adequately treat eating disordered patients; how to identify individuals with eating disorders, and those who are at risk for suffering from eating disorders and, therefore, at risk for related severe medical and mental health conditions; how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of individual and familial health risk factors; and how to conduct a comprehensive assessment of a treatment plan.  The training will be evaluated after a period of time. 

6. #AnnasLaw includes: EDUCATION AND TRAINING FOR SCHOOL AND HIGHER EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS.  In essence, grants will be awarded so grant recipients can conduct educational seminars for school personnel on eating disorders early identification, intervention, and prevention of behaviors that are often associated with the development of eating disordered behaviors; and make resources available to individuals affected by eating disorders. 

7. #AnnasLaw includes: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS. In essence, the Director of National Institute of Mental Health ("NIMH") will conduct a program of public service announcements to educate the public on the types of eating disorders; the seriousness of eating disorders (including prevalence, comorbidities, and physical and mental health consequences); how to identify, intervene, refer for treatment, and help prevent behaviors that often lead to the development of eating disordered behaviors; discrimination and bullying based on body size; the effects of media on self esteem and body image; and the signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

8. #AnnasLaw includes: CLARIFICATION OF EXISTING LAW.  In essence, #AnnasLaw will aid in the implementing the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008 so that the following is clarified: In the case of a group health plan or a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage that providers both medical and surgical benefits and mental health or substance use disorder benefits including coverage of residential treatment services, the following shall apply: A permanent exclusion of all benefits for a particular condition or disorder shall constitute a treatment limitation for the purposes of and the policy clarification that applies to subacute mental health and substance use disorder treatment and acute medical/surgical services, such as hospice and skilled nursing. 

9. #AnnasLaw includes: A REPORT BY FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION. In essence, Anna's Law means: Truth in Advertising.  #AnnasLaw asks that the Federal Trade Commission submit to Congress a report that contains a strategy to reduce the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted; and recommendations for an appropriate, risk based regulatory framework with respect to such use.


10. #AnnasLaw includes: ZERO COST.  In essence, no additional funds are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act or the amendments made by this Act. This Act and such amendments shall be carried out using amounts otherwise made available for such purposes. 

^^^^YOU made this possible!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for all your advocacy and using your voice to tell us what you wanted to see beyond the FREED Act.

ADDITIONAL THANKS: 

MONUMENTAL thank you to our champions and their staff: Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).  Your dedication to helping those impacted by eating disorders continues to give us hope.

A HUGE and HEARTFELT thank you to each and every advocate and activist who took the time to tell us what they wanted in legislation this Congressional session!  Thanks to each of YOU, the Anna Westin Act of 2015 will be introduced --and it is bipartisan out of the gate!!

And perhaps most of all, OUR DEEPEST THANK YOU to the Westin family for not allowing anorexia to silence your voice. Thank you for allowing us the honor and privilege to know Anna through you.  We wish with all our hearts that she was alive and well and advocating with us, in-person, on Capitol Hill.  But we have a sense that she is with us and watching over the entire process --including the dreaming up of, creating, drafting, re-drafting, criticizing, editing, processing, revising, revising, revising...now finalizing and introducing, the Anna Westin Act of 2015.

We can hardly wait to see YOU on the Hill (and/or at Virtual Lobby Day) on May 13, 2015.  Sincerely, ~the EDC
#TheTimeIsNow #AnnasLaw

PS: A full text copy of the bill will post shortly after its introduction, on Thomas.gov --it takes a few days for folks on the Hill to get the text up and officially on the website, so please be patient and know/trust that we'll share it with you as soon as it's up!! (you know we'll be 'stalking' the Thomas.gov website until it's up! ;-))