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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2019 03:52 PM
From: Senator Daylin Leach
To: All Senate members
Subject: Treatment for Eating Disorders
Soon I will introduce legislation aimed at improving access to effective care for thousands of Pennsylvanians who suffer from eating disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 American women struggle with a form of eating disorder, including but not limited to anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. Victims are often consumed by their disorder. Without treatment, up to 15% of individuals with eating disorders will die or suffer from long-term chronic illness.

Too many victims do not receive the treatment they require. Often, insurance companies only cover treatment that focuses on raising patients to a minimally adequate weight and does not tackle the underlying psychological issues that cause the disorder. Without addressing these causal and maintaining factors, most patients will quickly lose weight and relapse.

Effective treatment takes time and consistency. Many patients need 24-hour residential care and support to interrupt and eliminate symptomatic behaviors. This is why non-hospital residential treatment centers have had such widespread acknowledged success and are particularly successful when patients can step down from residential care to other structured outpatient programs, such as partial/day hospitals or intensive outpatient programs. However, because few insurance plans in Pennsylvania cover such programs and facilities, Pennsylvanians are denied access to the most effective and efficient treatment available.

My bill requires that Pennsylvania’s insurers cover effective non-hospital, inpatient care for treating eating disorders and the underlying issues that cause them.

This bill was known as Senate Bill 244 during the 2017-2018 session. It was cosponsored by Senators Haywood, Costa, McIlhinney, and Farnese.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation.

If you have questions about this legislation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Introduced as SB184