Ortiz Calls for the Restoration of Funding For Eating Disorder Services

Harmful budget cuts eliminate funding that has helped save lives, established extensive prevention programs and improved in-state placements and care coordination.
February 2, 2010
Albany – Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz (Brooklyn), today called for the restoration of critically necessary funding for eating disorder services that the New York State Budget proposes to eliminate entirely. The proposed Executive Budget would eliminate $1.7 million in funding for eating disorder services deeming the funding as “less essential to DOH’s core mission”. Individuals with eating disorders, family members, advocates and health care providers joined Assemblyman Ortiz in calling for the rejection of the proposed cut.

“Hearing heartbreaking stories from my constituents who have struggled with eating disorders about the devastating effects these diseases have had on individuals and their families, coupled with the difficulty they experienced in obtaining appropriate care, led me to sponsor legislation creating the Comprehensive Centers for Eating Disorders,” said Ortiz. “These programs have quite literally saved lives. New York cannot afford to take a step backward and lose these programs. It is critical that this funding be restored to the Budget,” Assemblyman Ortiz continued.

The eating disorder services funding has helped thousands of individuals. “I don’t know if I would still be here if it wasn’t for the services provided by the Comprehensive Centers for Eating Disorders. On behalf of all the young women in my position, I ask that the State restore this vitally important funding to address the needs of those New Yorkers suffering from eating disorders,” said Alexandra Phillips.

In the United States, as many as 10 million females and 1 million males are suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia and bulimia and millions more are struggling with binge eating disorders. While awareness of eating disorders is improving, the public, health care providers and educators frequently have little understanding of eating disorders, how to recognize symptoms and how to communicate with people dealing with eating disorders.

“New York’s Comprehensive Centers for Eating Disorders is a national model that has greatly improved prevention efforts and awareness of eating disorders. The proposed elimination of funding is extremely disappointing and sends a negative message to individuals suffering from eating disorders in New York and elsewhere,” said Lynn Grefe, C.E.O of the National Eating Disorders Association.

“Eating disorders are complex conditions with physical and mental components. All too often, individuals with eating disorders fail to get appropriate care or only receive care when the condition has become life threatening. If anything, we should be increasing the funding, because so many lives are at risk,” continued Lynn Grefe.

“The Comprehensive Care Centers for Eating Disorders have fulfilled a previously unmet health care need,” said Dr. Evelyn Attia, Director of Eating Disorders, Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University. “These programs have improved prevention efforts, clinical care, in-state placements, care coordination and research efforts. They have also headed off more costly episodes of acute care. They are exactly what we expect and need from our health care system and the loss of funding will be devastating to our efforts to address the growing eating disorder epidemic,” she continued.