TRENTON � Senator Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) is teaming up with National Eating Disorders Association and the Academy for Eating Disorders for a press conference in Trenton at 11 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, to promote awareness of this growing problem.
Senator Vitale, who is chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, will help launch the NEDA�s STAR (States for Treatment, Access and Research) program and discuss legislation he is drafting to require New Jersey medical schools to include courses in diagnosing and treating eating disorders.
�Eating disorders are a serious problem for an ever growing number of young women,� Senator Vitale said. �It�s vitally important that as we train the next generation of medical and psychiatric professionals, they are well-schooled in the diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. We hear too often of families whose doctors are ill-equipped to recognize and treat children who are unable to maintain a proper, healthy weight. This bill would give professionals the training they need to be able to more effectively deal with eating disorders.�
Last year, Senator Vitale introduced a bill (S-1940) that would require hospital, medical, and health service corporations, individual, small employer, and larger group health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and the State Health Benefits Program, to provide insurance coverage for all eating disorders under the same terms and conditions as provided for any other covered sickness.
�The state has already enacted laws to provide insurance coverage for biologically based mental illnesses,� Vitale said. �Unfortunately, the laws that did this did not specifically list eating disorders among the disorders that must be covered. This bill would rectify that problem.�
The press conference, part of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 22-28) will be held in Committee Room 3 of the New Jersey Statehouse Annex on West State Street, next door to the state Capitol at 11 a.m. Thursday.
The agenda will also include an introduction of the Worldwide Charter for Action on Eating Disorders, a patient bill of rights for people with eating disorders.
The National Eating Disorders Association, headquartered in Seattle, Wash., is a not-for-profit organization that supports individuals and families affected by eating disorder and advocates for the prevention, treatment and research funding for eating disorders.
For more information, contact Susan Maccia, New Jersey STAR coordinator, at (973) 857-2715, or Smaccia1109@verizon.net.