The F.R.E.E.D. Act (Federal Response To Eliminate Eating Disorders) Lobby’s In Washington D.C.
If you have ever sought professional help for your eating
disorder you know how difficult it can be to get your health insurance to cover
it. The reason for this is that many health insurers do not acknowledge eating
disorders as a mental illness. This is of course ludicrous considering the
studies that have been done proving that eating disorders are indeed an
addiction much like alcoholism and drugs (which are covered by health care
providers for intensive in patient treatment.) Due to this dismissal of eating
disorders as a mental illness, many of those struggling with eating disorders
never receive treatment; leaving their disease to get worse which results in
Thankfully a group of eating disorder professionals,
therapists, survivors and legislators have gathered together and formed the
F.R.E.E.D. Act which is advocating for the government to take a look at eating
disorders in the following ways:
Summary of the FREED Act (H.R. 1193)
The EDC worked with Members of Congress to conceptualize and
draft the Federal Response
disorders addressing research, treatment, education and
prevention. The bill addresses the
• Know the numbers through a national data base and other
initiatives. Determine the prevalence,
incidence, and correlates of all eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia
nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not otherwise specified).
• Know the death rates.
Determine the morbidity and mortality rates associated with all eating
disorders and provide a public report of this data annually.
• Know the costs or “economic burden” of eating disorders.
Undertake the necessary investigations to conduct an economic analysis of the
costs of eating disorders in the United States, including years of productive
life lost, missed days of work, reduced work productivity, costs of
medical/psychiatric treatment, prescriptions medications, hospitalizations, costs
of medical and psychiatric comorbidities, (cost to family, cost to society)
For all Health Professionals.
Train and healed days of work, reduced work productivity,
costs of medical/psychiatric treatment, prescriptions medications,
hospitalizations, costs of medical and psychiatric comorbidities, (cost to
family, cost to society) etc.
• Establish Centers of Excellence. Develop an integrated system of Centers of
Excellence for eating disorders, which will provide training opportunities for
research, fund research programs, and coordinate the development of a research
infrastructure nationwide. Access to
Adequate and Appropriate Treatment.
• All Americans with eating disorders deserve access to
care. Any insurer that provides health
coverage for physical illness must provide coverage for eating disorders.
• Care according to universally accepted criteria. Insurers are to follow standards of care as
written in the Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Patients with Eating
Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association. The treatment setting must
be appropriate to the patient’s needs and clinical presentation. Decisions
regarding the treatment setting must include individual variables such as age,
sex, ability to manage severity or comorbidity, family involvement, and staff
expertise and training.
• Eating Disorders are complex conditions and require
comprehensive treatment approaches. All treatment modalities should be covered,
including but not limited to family, individual and group therapies, nutrition counseling,
psychopharmacology, body Image therapy, and medical treatment.
Education & Prevention Initiatives
• Study mandatory BMI reporting in school. Determine the
outcome of measuring BMI in schools and reporting the results to parents
(including measuring eating disorders symptoms, and incidence of teasing or
bullying based on body size).
• Grant Program of the Education and Training for all Health
Professionals. Train health
professionals, to identify, prevent, appropriately treat and address the
complications of eating disorders (using a team approach).
• Grant Program for the Education and Training for
School/Higher Education Professionals. Train education professionals in
evidence-based education programs about eating disorders, education professionals
include teachers, professors, school nurses, school aides, community liaisons,
cooks, dieticians, social workers, counselors, coaches, athletic departments,
• Educating the public through Public Service Announcements
(PSA’s). Use PSAs to educate the public
on types and the seriousness of (prevalence, comorbidities, health consequences
–both physical and mental) eating disorders, how to obtain help, discrimination
and bullying based on mental illness, body size, and the effects of media on
self esteem and body image.
• Bring eating disorders into already existing obesityinitiatives. Federally funded campaigns
to fight obesity should also address eating disorders. Federal studies should
include eating disorder related questions.
The lobbying starts on Tuesdsay, October 4th in Washington D.C. We wish all the advocates success and blessings in getting the F.R.E.E.D. Act heard! If you would like to know more about getting involved with the F.R.E.E.D. act please check out the following link: