New Law Helps People with Eating Disorders
Millions of people with eating disorders will get help under a new law, legislation that started in Wisconsin. It's thanks in part to the exhaustive work of a Burlington man who lost his wife to Bulimia.
The Anna Westin Act has been in the making for years. It will help people with eating disorders get better health coverage, something medical professionals say is desperately needed for a growing problem.
Binge eating, not eating, exercising too much, all symptoms Wauwatosa Dr. Ted Weltzin says he sees in about 50 new patients everyday.
"We're seeing an increase in the rates of eating disorders in men, an increase in people with eating disorders in people in their 30's 40's and 50's," says Weltzin.
President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform Act. In it - a bill to improve insurance coverage for eating disorder patients, giving them easier access to care.
"One of the most important things that should happen is that you should not be told that you cant have care. Typically that's based on insurance funding," says Weltzin.
Health care professionals - will also get more training. Right now - there aren't enough experts to help these patients.
"The training that's going to take a number of years is a critical aspect of this. The downside is we have a lot of catch up to do in terms of making sure we have enough specialists to be available to treat people," says Weltzin.
Dr. Weltzin - says he's been trying to get the legislation going for 15 years and is happy a Burlington man Nathan Libbey - who lost his wife to bulimia - championed the cause with Wisconsin legislators.
"There are many many people like the Libbey family who lost someone to eating disorder. Certainly the access to adequate treatment for long enough should greatly reduce the mortality rate in this illness," says Weltzin.
U.S Senator Tammy Baldwin (D) co -sponsored the Anna Westin Act. Dr. Ted Weltzin says bipartisanship in Washington after the 2016 Presidential election helped get it passed.