Anna Westin Act
|Full title||To amend the Public Health Service Act with respect to eating disorders, and for other purposes.|
|Introduced in||114th United States Congress|
|Sponsored by||Ted Deutch|
The Anna Westin Act of 2015 (H.R. 2515, S. 1865), is a proposed bill which is aimed at training school officials and healthcare professionals on how to identify those with eating disorders and on how to intervene. 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness and affects women 2.5 times more than men. Additionally, eating disorders research to improve identification and treatment is limited. Eating disorder research receives some of the lowest amounts of research funding compared to all other diseases at $30 research dollars per person affected versus $188 research dollars for Autism and $682 research dollars for Breast Cancer.
On May 21, 2015, Congressman Ted Deutch (D-FL-21) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL-27) introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. On July 27, 2015, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced the bill in the Senate with support and leadership from Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).
The Anna Westin Act of 2015 is written to help those affected by eating disorders get the care they need by focusing on improved training and clarity of mental health parity. The bill is designed to have a zero CBO score. In addition, the House of Representatives version of the Anna Westin Act includes the truth in advertising act, a small inter-agency study looking at digitally altered images of humans as they related to fair advertising practices. The three components of the bill are as follows:
- Training: The Anna Westin Act of 2015 will help prevent eating disorders by using existing NIMH and SAMHSA funds to provide training for health professionals and school personnel to identify eating disorders and intervene early when precursory symptoms and behaviors arise.
- Clarity of Mental Health Parity: The Anna Westin Act of 2015 aims to provide better health insurance treatment coverage for those affected by eating disorders.The legislation clarifies the intent of former Congressman Jim Ramstad (R-MN) and former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) to include residential treatment services in their past bipartisan legislation, the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (the Parity Law), which required insurance providers to cover people with mental illness equally as those with other health issues.
- Truth in Advertising: The House bill (H.R. 2515) requires the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a small inter-agency study and report on digitally altered images of humans and fair advertising practices.
The Anna Westin Act of 2015 received its name in observance of 21-year-old Anna Westin. Anna grew up living with her mom, dad and sisters in the small town of Chaska, Minnesota. When Anna was 16, she developed anorexia. Anna received outpatient treatment for her eating disorder and Anna and her family thought her treatment was successful. Unfortunately, when Anna returned from college her sophomore year, her parents realized she had relapsed and was suffering from severe anorexia. Anna’s family took her to the doctor and Anna was told she needed to be hospitalized. When Anna went to be admitted to the hospital, Anna’s insurer refused to cover inpatient treatment. Shortly thereafter, on February 17, 2000, Anna died from suicide as a direct result of her battle with anorexia.
Kitty Westin, Anna's mother, established Minnesota’s The Anna Westin Foundation (now The Emily Program Foundation) and other resources to help people experiencing eating disorders.
- WKBT. "New legislation aimed at preventing, treating eating disorders". WKBT. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Wade, T. D., Keski‐Rahkonen, A., & Hudson, J. I. (2011). Epidemiology of eating disorders. Textbook of Psychiatric Epidemiology, Third Edition, 343-360.
- Sullivan, P. F., Bulik, C. M., Fear, J. L., & Pickering, A. (1998). Outcome of anorexia nervosa: A case-control study. American Journal of Psychiatry.
- Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health (2014). Estimates of funding for various research, condition, and disease categories (RCDC). https://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx
- "U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Introduce New Bipartisan Eating Disorders Legislation". US Congressman Ted Deutch. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Canady, Valerie (August 20, 2015). "Mental Health Weekly" (PDF).
- "Ayotte Helps Introduce Legislation to Improve Prevention and Treatment of Eating Disorders | Kelly Ayotte | United States Senator". www.ayotte.senate.gov. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Huinker, Katie. "Klobuchar introduces legislation combating eating disorders". KIMT 3. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Eating Disorders Coalition: Current Initiatives". www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
- Oliver, Lindsay. "Sen. Capito discusses bill to combat eating disorders". www.wvva.com. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Correspondent, Kellie Meyer, Washington. "Anna Westin Act Fights for Education, Treatment of Eating Disorders". www.kfyrtv.com. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "mhpaea_factsheet". www.cms.gov. 2013-12-13. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
- "Kitty Westin, Sen. Klobuchar hope eating disorders bill named for Anna Westin will help others". MinnPost. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- Picard, Joe. "Why the Anna Westin Act of 2015 matters". TheHill. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "Remembering Anna". SWNewsMedia.com. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
- "The Emily Program Foundation". The Emily Program Foundation. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
- "Breaking the silence: Daughter's struggle with anorexia prompts mother's advocacy"
- "Minn. Mother Aims to Help Patients with Eating Disorders Across the Country"
- "New eating disorder legislation seeks to hold insurance companies accountable"
- "Kitty Westin Wants to Save Parents from Having to Bury a Child"
- "Anna Westin Act Focuses on Education and Treatment of Eating Disorders"
- "Parents of woman who died while battling anorexia push for legislation"
- "Anna Westin Act introduced to combat eating disorders"