Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch, Murphy, Lance Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Full Implementation of Eating Disorders Laws

May 18, 2017

Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch, Murphy, Lance Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Full Implementation of Eating Disorders Laws


(Washington) On Wednesday, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ) led a bipartisan letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price urging for full implementation of eating disorder laws. Last December, Congress overwhelmingly approved the 21st Century Cures Act, a law that included eating disorders provisions derived from the Anna Westin Act and the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis  Act. As the Department of Health and Human Services begins the rulemaking process for the 21st Century Cures Act, the Members of Congress urge the Secretary to prioritize these provisions and ensure that people suffering from eating disorders have access to quality, affordable, and adequate treatment.

As the Members state in the letter, "Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Therefore, we ask that when implementing relevant provisions, you do everything possible to ensure increased access to quality and affordable treatments that will save lives. We also ask that you provide doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals the tools that they need to identify and treat these illnesses."

“I’m proud to co-lead this effort with my colleagues asking Secretary Price to prioritize treatment for eating disorders," Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen said. "The Anna Westin Act, which became law as a part of the 21st Century Cures Act marked the first time in history that Congress passed legislation specifically aimed to improve the lives of those impacted by eating disorders. But our work is not yet done. I will continue working to ensure that this bill is implemented as intended and is helping the young men and women in my South Florida community and around the nation who are negatively impacted by this disease.”

"I’m proud of the decisive action Congress took last year to help the millions of Americans struggling with eating disorders," said Congressman Deutch. "Now we need to make sure the rubber hits the road, that Congress’ intended goals are met by the agency in charge of implementing the law. People suffering from eating disorders need accessible and quality healthcare that’s appropriate for these specific disorders. We’re urging Secretary Price to prioritize these needs and ensure that our government does everything it can to improve treatments and combat deadly eating disorders."

“For too long, millions of Americans suffering from an eating disorder were left in the shadows. But with early identification, intervention and treatment, we can turn suffering into victory," said Congressman Murphy. "With the landmark Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act signed into law, for the first time ever, the federal government has prioritized helping those with an eating disorder get access to real medical care. Working together we will keep pushing for more research, more training for health care professionals, facilitate early intervention treatment, and raise awareness for prevention efforts for those struggling with an eating disorder to continue building on the progress we’ve made so far.”

“Working together in a bipartisan fashion we will find new solutions to fight eating disorders and give patients the tools and support they need in recovery," Congressman Lance said. "These provisions Congress passed into law need to be implemented to combat this illness. This action was the first time Congress took steps to combat eating disorders and we need the Administration to join in the fight.”

You can access the letter here.