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Legislative Advocacy

  • ANAD Advocacy Goal
  • ANAD’s Voice in Washington McDermott Will & Emery
  • What can I do to help ANAD?
  • In the News!

ANAD’s Advocacy Goal:

ANAD’s advocacy goal is to bring attention to the full spectrum of eating disorders in both federal and state government policies.  ANAD promotes awareness of the dangers of eating disorders to the government and the general public. Eating disorders are a public health problem everyone needs to be aware of! ANAD advocates for the reduction of barriers and obstacles to insurance benefits and discriminatory medical management of those struggling with all eating disorders.  ANAD promotes the development of healthy bodies, attitudes and behaviors for children, teens and adults.

Federal legislative efforts that ANAD is monitoring include:

Anna Westin Law: Congressman Ted Deutch [D-FL-21] and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL-27] introduced the Anna Westin Act of 2015 (HR 2515)
Washington, DC, May 21, 2015– The Anna Westin Act of 2015 is the first eating disorders legislation to receive bipartisan support at introduction in the past decade. The new bill was designed to help the minimum estimated 14.5 million people experiencing eating disorders throughout the United States receive equal treatment as those with other health issues. Read more on the EDC website.

ANAD’s Voice in Washington

McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice, serving a broad range of client interests over the last 75 years. Established in 1934 as a tax practice in Chicago, McDermott has grown its core practices and offices around the globe.

McDermott Will & Emery is recognized as the #1 Health Law Firm in the United States. Chambers USA has recognized McDermott Will & Emery as the only law firm to receive a Tier 1 ranking nationally in health care. The Legal 500 USA similarly ranked McDermott Will & Emery as the only Tier 1 firm nationally in health care.  Additionally,  McDermott Will & Emery is the only firm to be ranked Tier 1 in health care nationally by all three of the legal industry’s top directories: Chambers USA, The Legal 500 USA and U.S. News-Best Lawyers.  Chambers also recognized McDermott Will & Emery specifically for outstanding client service and health care industry knowledge.

McDermott has a long history of social responsibility and supporting the communities in which its people live and work. McDermott believes it is their obligation to embrace their communities and promote their well being through pro bono work, community service, charitable giving, environmental stewardship and promoting diversity.  McDermott Will & Emery acts on this belief collectively and individually, and works hard to make a positive difference, including providing pro bono legal services to ANAD by acting as our Washington Lobbyists. McDermott’s work on ANAD’s behalf is limited to federal advocacy and does not include legal work.

McDermott Will & Emery represents ANAD in Washington, D.C., so that our voice is heard at regular coalition meetings of interest to the eating disorders community.

McDermott Will & Emery also provides weekly updates on topics related to health care, mental health and eating disorders: Washington Health Care Weekly.

ANAD’s Affiliations:

  • Academy of Eating Disorders (AED)
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association, Inc. (BEDA)
  • Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC)
  • International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP)

What can I do to help ANAD?

YOU can make a DIFFERENCE!   “A mountain is composed of tiny grains of dirt. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water.  Life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences of every one of them are far-reaching.”

 

In the News!

Save the Date
EDC’s next Lobby Day and second MOM March Against Eating Disorders will be Oct. 27, 2015. Plan to attend to make your voice heard by representatives in Washington! Together we can make a difference.
march2015

The Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC) held its annual Spring Lobby Day on May 13, 2015. Erica Stocker of McDemott Will & Emery represented ANAD and sent the following report:

 

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The morning began with message training, to discuss the talking points for the day and the overall messages to convey to the various members of Congress with whom we would be meeting.  The primary message for the day was to encourage each office to support the soon-to-be-introduced Anna Westin Act.  The legislation will be introduced by EDC champions, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) in the near future.  The bill is named after Anna Westin, a young Minnesotan who committed suicide as a direct result of her battle with anorexia in February 2000.  Since that time, Anna’s family has turned their grief into something positive by founding the Anna Westin Foundation and working to ensure that tragedies such as Anna’s are prevented in the future. For more information on Anna Westin, visit the EDC website.

The legislation is a comprehensive eating disorders bill that will address the “Three T’s” – Training, Treatment and Truth in Advertising.  It will help those affected with eating disorders get the treatment they need and deserve.  Specifically:

  • Training – Using current HHS funds, the bill would help train health professionals, school personnel and the public on how to identify eating disorders, and how to help prevent the development of behaviors that may lead to eating disorders.
  • Treatment – The bill would clarify the mental health parity law to include residential treatment service coverage, affording the same protections as other illnesses.
  • Truth in Advertising – The legislation would require a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report, studying whether regulation is needed for digitally altered images of humans in advertising, and if so, strategies to achieve such regulation.

Meetings were held with health staff from the offices of Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Sen. John Warner (D-VA).  During these meetings, advocates from Delaware and Virginia told their powerful, personal stories about overcoming an eating disorder, or helping a loved one who battled an eating disorder.  The staff in both offices were moved by the stories that were shared, and indicated an interest in the Anna Westin Act.

After morning meetings, the entire group reconvened for a lunch briefing.  Reps. Deutch and Ros-Lehtinen stopped by, and the EDC expressed its thanks for their strong support in crafting the Anna Westin Act, and for being champions of the EDC in general.  The briefing was focused on the Anna Westin Act, and the packed briefing room heard first from Anna’s mother, Kitty, who spoke of Anna and showed a short video about her daughter’s life and struggle.  The group then heard from Chase Bannister, an EDC board member who is the founder of an eating disorders treatment facility in North Carolina.  The group also heard from Olympic diver Brittany Viola Gonzalez, who battled an eating disorder and is now an advocate.  Finally, the group heard from eating disorders treatment and training expert Dr. Edward Tyson.

Overall, it was a successful day full of much enthusiasm among the many advocates who traveled to Washington, D.C.

ANAD’s community organizational manager, Deb Prinz, attended the first MOM March and fall Lobby Day in Washington in October 2014. Here are some of her thoughts:

t ANAD, part of my job involves answering calls to our help and referral line. Often, it’s the first time the caller has spoken with anyone about their eating disorder. They don’t feel they have anyone else to confide in, so they call us. Many are nervous and not quite sure how to begin. It is heartbreaking to talk with people who are feeling so isolated and scared—not just people with eating disorders, but their family and friends. As a parent, I’m hit hard by the calls from mothers who are desperate to get help for their children—moms asking, through tears, if their child can recover. These people are fighting battles for their lives, and I wanted to bring their stories and struggles to people who can make a difference. That’s why I went to the first M.O.M. (Mothers and Others Against Eating Disorders) March in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 30.

ANAD Community Organizational Manager Deb Prinz met with staff from Sen. Dick Durbin's office at her first Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

ANAD Community Organizational Manager Deb Prinz met with staff from Sen. Dick Durbin’s office at her first Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.

The day I left for the March, I was filled with a great deal of excitement to be participating in the first ever march against eating disorders. History was in the making and I was there to see it happen! Some of the stories shared at the March were full of sadness and pain. Mothers had lost their children to an eating disorder because they could not get the treatment needed. Many of the stories had a happy outcome because the individual had recovered from their eating disorder, but often only after homes were mortgaged and savings spent because insurance would not cover the necessary treatment. It is because of these stories that I wanted to participate in the M.O.M. March. I wanted to support those who continue to suffer and struggle with getting the necessary treatment. With a heavy heart, I also grieved for those who have lost their life to an eating disorder. Changes need to be made before dying from an eating disorder will be a thing of the past.

The March was emotional and empowering. It would have been enough to get me motivated to return to ANAD and continue raising awareness, but I still had Lobby Day, a chance to speak with lawmakers about eating disorders, ahead of me.

It was my first time attending Lobby Day. The idea of going to Capitol Hill and speaking with congressional representatives from my state made me excited as well as a bit nervous. You may think that going to Washington, D.C., and speaking to members of Congress would be scary, but in truth I felt very prepared. My preparation included a meeting with the international law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, who advise ANAD on any eating disorder issues. ANAD is extremely fortunate to have McDermott, Will & Emery, experts in health care law, as our advocates in Washington.

Headed to Lobby Day after meeting with our lawyers, I decided to share some stories from working at ANAD to promote eating disorder awareness. I wanted members of Congress to know the importance of educating our youth on eating disorders and that ANAD accomplishes this through our school presentations. I wanted Congress to know ANAD connects individuals to professionals who specialize in the treatment of eating disorders. I wanted Congress to know eating disorders are treatable illnesses and no one should ever die from their eating disorder. I wanted to share with Congess phone calls I have handled through the ANAD helpline.

One call was from a man who was married with children and worked full time. He had to call ANAD from his car to have privacy. He was looking for a treatment center that could help with his bulimia. He felt very alone and without hope of ever getting better. Men struggle with eating disorders, too, but the perception that they happen only to women further isolates men. I was able to connect him with a treatment center that accepts male patients and his attitude changed immediately. He sounded more hopeful at the end of the call than at the beginning, which made me feel that our work is important. He asked if he could call again if he needed to and I said, “Of course, call whenever you need, we are here to help.”

Another call came from a woman who had been suffering from anorexia for many years. She was looking for a therapist who specialized in the treatment of eating disorders. Again, she felt isolated and unable to get her questions answered. She called the ANAD helpline looking not only for a therapist but also for answers to some questions she had regarding her eating disorder. I was able to answer her questions and put her mind at ease that recovery was possible as well as refer her to a therapist. She was extremely grateful for the information I was able to provide.

Probably the most difficult calls for me to answer are the ones from moms who call crying, trying to get help for their child who they believe is suffering from an eating disorder. It gives me a feeling of hope and satisfaction when I am able to help them and the other individuals who call the ANAD helpline. Sharing their stories gave their struggle with an eating disorder a voice that Congress was sure to hear.

I returned to the ANAD office knowing that the work we do is extremely important to the many who suffer from the effects of eating disorders. It is a struggle every day for them to reach recovery, and so here at ANAD we must work hard every day to support them in their fight. Recovery is possible and no one should ever die as a result of an eating disorder.