Friday, December 19, 2014

Letter to 60 Minutes, Re: Battle for Mental Health Treatment Segment

Dear 60 Minutes:

Thank you for your look inside a world that is terrifying to far too many sufferers and parents of those with eating disorders – the world of capricious and perplexing insurance coverage and denials. An interesting and productive follow-up piece would be the story of what happens when clinicians and insurers put the best interests of patients and families at the forefront. In the case of eating disorders, this means early diagnosis and prompt, aggressive, appropriate-level-of-care treatment. This protocol can take the mortality rate for anorexia from up to 20% down to 3%. In real terms this means reductions of from an estimated 180,000 for a six month stay in a residential facility and more costs for step down treatment to around 7,000 at the low end for a year of intensive outpatient family based treatment. As a bonus one would think insurers would consider this also costs the insurer far less in the long run. Let alone save countless lives, lost productivity and resources. 

The physical complications of untreated eating disorders develop quickly, are very expensive to treat, and require medical management that cannot be denied—these run the gamut from heart conditions to gastrointestinal problems to bones that fracture easily and often to death. Insurers have an opportunity to lead on changing the abysmal outcome metrics for those with eating disorders by insisting pediatricians, primary care physicians and emergency room doctors are trained to recognize the signs of an eating disorder and refer for treatment immediately. And for insurers to insist on increased specialized eating disorder training for clinicians both pre- and in-service. 

We are a coalition of 500 carers, parents and survivors working on advocacy and support respectively. Please visit our 100% volunteer website at www.iedaction.weebly.com to see our current and past actions; and our Facebook group pages. We would be pleased to assist in any upcoming stories. 
The parents, patients and advocates of International Eating Disorder Action and the parents and other carers of Eating Disorder Parent Support

FB: International Eating Disorder Action, Eating Disorder Parent Support
Twitter: @iedaction

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