SOURCE: American Medical Association

American Medical Association

June 14, 2016 16:22 ET

AMA Urges Equal Health Care Access for Eating Disorders

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - June 14, 2016) - The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted new policy today urging equal health care access and payment for eating disorders. Although current federal law mandates parity in benefit levels for eating disorders, many payers do not offer parity of services, effectively excluding eating disorders from mental health parity.

"Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, but too often a patient's care is determined by their insurance company instead of their health needs," said former AMA Board Chair Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. "With only one in 10 patients with an eating disorder receiving treatment and with psychological intervention widely accepted as a critical component of care, ensuring mental health parity in benefits will save lives."

The policy builds on existing AMA policy related to eating disorders, mental health parity and body image. The AMA already encourages payment for physical and behavioral health care services on the same day and for Medicaid to pay for those services in school settings. Additionally, the AMA supports increased funding for research on diagnosis, prevention and treatment of eating disorders, including research on the effectiveness of school-based primary prevention programs for pre-adolescent children and their parents.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation's physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America. For more information, visit ama-assn.org.

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