Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Action Alert: We need you to call your Representatives today!

Action Alert: We need you to call your Representatives today!
Last month we had a wildly successful call in campaign for the SENATE. Now we need to repeat the same strategy for the HOUSE.

Urge Your Representative to Sign onto a Letter in Support of Parity Regulations Now
Action Needed by September 21st.

After years of hard work by mental health organizations such as the EDC, as well as other advocates and consumers, Congress passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008. The bill requires the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury to issue regulations before the effective date for the Act which is January 1, 2010. It is essential the regulations are issued to avoid misinterpretation of the law and to ensure access to critical mental health and addiction services. The Parity Act was enacted on October 3, 2008 and requires the issuance of regulations by October 3, 2009. With or without regulations, this Act goes into effect for most plans on January 1, 2010. Not having regulations issued in a timely manner, with clearly outlined implementation details, will greatly limit the intended positive impact of the Act.

Representative Patrick Kennedy is circulating a Dear Colleague Letter in the House which will be sent to the Secretaries of the three departments responsible for issuing the regulations insisting they act quickly and consider the comments that were filed in response to the request for information (RFI).

The EDC provided comments to the agencies earlier this year urging the agencies to interpret the law in a manner that would include eating disorders coverage. In order to make sure that years of hard work and advocacy pay off let's call our Representatives and ask them to sign onto this letter with Congressman Kennedy!

Action: Call your Representatives
How to find your Representative: go to www.house.gov
Put in your 9 digit zip code and your Representative will come up.

Use the phone number for the DC office (starts with 202)

The Message:
"Hi my name is XX. I am a constituent calling about the implementation of mental health parity regulations. I would like to urge the Congressman/Congresswoman to make sure mental health parity regulations are issued by October 3, 2009 by signing onto Congressman Kennedy’s Dear Colleague Letter by September 21st. This step helps to ensure parity is achieved for eating disorders and other mental health and addiction services. Thank you for passing that information on to him/her."
Given current health care reform discussions occurring in Congress, having parity regulations will be vital to ensuring equitable inclusion of addiction and mental health services in any reform bill passed by Congress.

Once you make your call please take a moment and let us know by filling this out. This is critical as its important for us to know what offices have been contacted. This will take no more then 30 seconds.

Click Here to take survey

Thanks! Every voice matters - we've had many examples of how one person writing a letter or making a phone call to their legislators makes a difference.

Jeanine Cogan, Ph.D.
Policy Director
Eating Disorders Coalition

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