Missouri Senator’s leadership staff will tour and meet with Dr. Kimberli McCallum and other staff from the nationally-recognized McCallum Place Eating Disorder Treatment Center at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 9. The meeting was arranged because the St. Louis doctor is passionate about supporting the passage of The Anna Westin Act introduced in the U.S. Senate specifically to address the needs of the thousands of U.S. patients suffering from eating disorders.
The proposed law, which is expected to be considered as early as this fall, is designed to combat eating disorders through education and improved insurance coverage. It also seeks to clarify earlier mental health laws requiring carriers to cover residential treatment for eating disorders.
Anna Westin was a Minnesotan who had battled anorexia for five years when she died in 2000 at the age of 21. Her family’s struggle to understand the disease and get Westin the treatment she needed was the impetus for this important legislation.
The bipartisan bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), would require training for health professionals and school personnel to identify eating disorders in their early stages and to provide intervention.
On Wednesday, Missouri congressional leadership will visit the 14-year-old McCallum Place to learn more about the pending legislation, meet with top clinicians in the field and tour the state-of-the-art facility.
“We want to ensure that health professionals have the skills to identify and treat eating disorders. In addition, it is important that those struggling with eating disorders and depression aren’t denied coverage because of the categorization or the extent of their illness. We hope to do what we can to educate our legislators and the public. People can and do recover from eating disorders, but most often they need specialized treatment,” said Dr. McCallum, a certified eating disorder specialist who has dedicated her life to helping patients with this illness.
WHAT: Senate/Congressional Staff Visit
WHERE: McCallum Place Eating Disorder Treatment Center
231 West Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO.
WHEN: September 9, 2015
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
-Brendan Fahey, Deputy Director for Sen. Claire McCaskill [D-MO]
-Jasmina Hadzic, Community Development and Relations Manager, Congressman Lacy
-John Scates, Community Liaison for Sen. Roy Blunt [R-MO]
“This pending legislation was initiated because of the courageous acts of one couple who had to endure the unimaginable loss of their daughter. Their openness about Anna’s disease and her death gives a face to eating disorders and we are incredibly humbled to be asked to be a part of the legislation process,” Dr. McCallum added.
The Mental Health Parity Act, passed in 2008, was meant to provide care for mental health issues on par with primary medical issues. Unfortunately, eating disorders were not specifically mentioned in the Act. According to the Eating Disorders Coalition (EDC), eating disorder specialists and treatment centers report insurance coverage is now worse than previously reported.
The funding for the Anna Westin Act already exists. No additional funds will be needed to enact the Anna Westin Act.
According to Dr. McCallum the Anna Westin Act, when passed into law, has the potential to remarkably change the way all health professionals and school personnel address eating disorders because the bill will transform the way health professionals are trained and address early intervention as well as the different levels of treatments for identification of eating disorders.
About McCallum Place
McCallum Place is a nationally recognized, comprehensive eating disorder treatment center for adolescents and adults. The 14-year-old facility was founded in St. Louis, but is opening additional clinics in the Greater Kansas City, MO area. Each clinic offers on-site medical and psychiatric management combined with intensive, individualized psychotherapy. In addition, clinicians integrate personalized nutritional support and best practices treatment in real-life, home-like setting. The state-of-the-art eating disorder treatment programs and setting are designed to create an environment of structure and support for restorative treatment. McCallum Place’s eating disorder treatment programs provide a continuum of care, specialized to provide the right level of support to optimize recovery for each patient. Please visit McCallumPlace.com for more information.