Senator Kemp Hannon announced the senate recently passed legislation to establish comprehensive care centers to provide individualized comprehensive and integrated plans of care for those suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders.
"The Senate's passage of the Comprehensive Care Centers for Eating Disorders legislation for the first time makes available, throughout the entire state, the expertise to treat those suffering from these illnesses who often face a lifetime battle," Hannon, chairman of the Senate Health Committee said.
Eating disorders are a growing problem in the United States, affecting between 5 and 10 million individuals each year. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in every 200 women suffers from anorexia. The mortality rate among people with the disease is estimated to be about 12 times higher than the average death rate due to all other causes of death for females, aged 15 to 24, in the general population.
The cost of treating an individual with an eating disorder can be extraordinary. Currently, there is no generally accessible system in New York for the comprehensive and integrated treatment of eating disorder patients, nor is there a general mechanism for community education, prevention and coordinated research activities.
This legislation authorizes the state commissioner of health to identify "Comprehensive Care Centers (of excellence) for Eating Disorders" to treat those suffering from eating disorders. The legislation would require that the centers provide individual health and psychosocial services, inpatient medical and surgical treatment, rehabilitation and psychiatric care, residential treatment, case management and community education, including information and referral services and prevention and research activities.
Additionally, the bill requires insurers to cover treatments provided by state-identified eating disorder centers and to make flexible reimbursement arrangements between the insurer and the comprehensive care centers.
The bill also establishes a state grant program to facilitate the development and operation of comprehensive care centers that the state commissioner of health would issue to the centers. A special state account would be established for the funds, which any source may contribute to, and New York State's HCRA public health and mental health allocations of $1 million would be deposited into the Eating Disorder grant program account for community education, prevention and research.
The bill was sent to the assembly.