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UCAN

 

I often, as many other parents of children suffering from an eating disorder, find myself envisioning what the future may hold for our daughter when she is older, well beyond the preparatory stages of ED recovery-maintenance, living a full, healthy and ED-free adult life will be like; especially when there may come a time when she decides upon a life-long partnership, marriage and/or family of her own.

Wouldn’t it be comforting and assuring to know that the care your son or daughter is receiving now will also be available for him/her and their partner-spouse when and if the time comes?

Thankfully some forward-thinking clinicians from the UNC Eating Disorders Program are working to provide just such a program, which is at this time addressing Anorexia Nervosa, and can continue to implement these necessary and supportive elements towards long-term health and maintenance for those who have loved ones suffering.

The UCAN Program

UCAN is a research program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and is part of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. UCAN aims to help couples work together in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Couples participate in UCAN over a period of six months and return for follow-up treatment three months after the end of the original six-month period. Your participation in UCAN can help you gain new confidence in facing anorexia as a team and can help us understand how best to involve partners in the treatment of eating disorders.
What Couples Can Expect
Treatment Team
Couples can expect that their treatment will be conducted by trained, licensed professionals from the UNC Eating Disorders Program who are experienced in the treatment of eating disorders.
Comprehensive Assessment
All participating couples have four assessments during which they complete questionnaires and interviews with a clinician, and are videotaped having a discussion with their partner about an anorexia nervosa-related topic.
Comprehensive Treatment
During their participation in UCAN, couples will be randomly assigned (like a coin flip) to receive 20 sessions of either:
• Couples Therapy
• Family Supportive Therapy
In addition, the patient also receives comprehensive treatment for anorexia nervosa from the UNC Eating Disorders Program at no additional cost, including:
• Individual Psychotherapy
• Psychiatry Consultations
• Nutritional Counseling

 

*For further information about registering for the program contact at: UCAN@unc.edu or phone: (919)966.3065

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I LOVE Chicago!

 

… but we’ll happily settle.

 

When he speaks,

The air, a chartered libertine, is still.

Henry V, 1.1

Umbrella Erin Hael

Anyone involved with eating disorders knows all too well the commitment, expense, and time that treatment and recovery encompass. There are no quick fixes on this journey towards reclaiming ones’ Life back from a devastating illness that can lead to chronic health debility and even death if left untreated.

Just mention the word “insurance” to anyone acquainted with eating disorders and you will undoubtedly get a credible grunt of frustration or despair when it comes to what insurance companies “allow” for treatment and follow up care. And for those of us who have loved ones requiring the most intense level of care in either residential ED programs and/or partial-day programs for any length of time, insurance becomes yet another demon to lock horns with; and certainly not what caregivers, families and sufferers need tacked onto an already onerous battle to save someones Life.

We have had many a battle with insurance to get our daughter the care she deserves, and to push beyond the bullying that desperate parents face when told your child cannot get the medical services s/he needs until you’ve taken out a second mortgage, gone bankrupt, taken out exorbitant loans because extended coverage was denied, but by all Dr recommendations is absolutely necessary in continuing care and treatment.

The manner at which eating disorders are covered by insurance (and obtaining equal access to quality care is another needle-in-the-haystack!) is still quite crude that my blood boils when listening to parent after parent exhaustively stating the same heartrending scenario over and over. And speaking with parents and sufferers outside the US, you find some of the same- sometimes even worse.

Well, after stating all this rather negative reality, there is some hopeful news to share with the now infamous New Jersey Blue Cross/Blue Shield class action federal court case which restores my belief, coupled with the progression of Mental Health Parity, that 2009 will continue to move forward and keep chipping away towards change in improved coverage and treatment of eating disorders that is well overdue:

 
January 10, 2009 Horizon Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Jersey has tentatively settled a class action pending in federal court in Newark, New Jersey involving reimbursements for medical expenses relating to the treatment of eating disorders. The terms of the settlement must still be approved by the court.

Although Horizon covered treatments related to eating disorders (primarily anorexia and bulimia), including hospitalization, outpatient treatment, psychotherapy and nutritional counseling, there were benefit limits on such treatments.

Under the settlement terms, Horizon has agreed to pay claims for eating disorders that were denied because they exceeded the plans’ maximum benefit for non-biologically based mental illness.
Horizon has also agreed to give parity treatment to eating disorder claims for Horizon insureds in the future and to enhance its appeals procedure by providing the right to select review by an eating disorder specialist of all claims denied on the basis of medical necessity.

New Year 2009!

 

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
-Lord Alfred Tennyson

Home

Mieluinen Koti- Armas Tytär
(Welcome Home Dear Daughter)

Turkey

 

Yes, it’s already December and I’m still concocting a various array of T-Day leftover meals. The latest- and hopefully the last turkey creation!- curried turkey potpie was a hit, but with one plate empty at the table.

Life for our family, once again, is on temporary halt to regroup, realign, and reaffirm former, as well as new recovery priorities-goals; and up the ante a bit to get beyond the bump-in-the-road our daughter is experiencing wrestling free (though as of late, resembling more acquiescence) from the dangerous clutches of anorexia.

Leftovers…

Ironically we were in this familiar territory the same time last year. And as a parent, when you’ve seen how far your child has come through his/her ED recovery, how hard the fight gets fought, seeing and knowing they can do it; it feels like suddenly your footing on that long arduous climb is becoming loose and weak. You’ve been tossed back down, the wind has been knocked clean out — “GASP!” Some confusion sets in, frustration, even some anger– “Damn you friggin’ (I use a word with a bit more gusto and power) ED!” It’s time to take action, as most of us know, eating disorders love the waiting-game, the delay, the postponing… we’ve already been there too.

Adolescence is a time of rapid growth and development, and a body taxed with an eating disorder at this time cannot do fully what it was meant to do normally unhindered. The reports regarding bone density and calcium loss within eating disorder sufferers are not new but it is a necessary reminder of the severity of this illness and why treatment should not be delayed, since significant changes do take place before decreases in bone structure become evident, and some of these changes can be permanent after a certain age.

Leftovers in this scenario can also be remembered as requiring 100% full nutritional support and adherence- without question, without exception. This time of year brings forth both a welcoming joy towards celebration with family and friends, but as well an unwelcome increase of stressors and worries that pose some unique challenges for those with eating disorders.

There has been a wide variety of posts and informational resources in this regard which is fantastic. One incredibly busy and committed individual interviewing as of late is Dr Cynthia Bulik, who is the director of the UNC Eating Disorder Program prompting:



Keep your support team on speed dial and call them at any time during or after a party. Talking relieves the pressure. You’re not overburdening them. They will undoubtedly have stories to share, too.– Potlucks are your friends. Don’t hesitate to take a food you prepared that feels safe enough to you so that you will have at least one manageable entrée.– Lavish holiday spreads don’t have to be the enemy. If faced with one, channel your inner Boy Scout or Girl Scout skills and be prepared! Before stepping in line, and before getting a plate, evaluate the options. Mindfully consider which foods you’ll sample, portion sizes and whether you feel comfortable trying a “feared food.” Make a decision and stick with it!– If your treatment team has given you a meal plan stay on track so you aren’t starving when you get there.– Listen with your heart, not your head. Hear the happiness and caring in a person’s tone when they tell you that you look “so much better.” They are saying they care about you. Don’t let the eating disorder lead you to misinterpret those words in a way that deprives you of hearing that people really care about you.— Get Real! People too often have a fantasy about how “perfect” the holidays are going to be. When family members fail to live up to unrealistic expectations, it might be tempting to restrict or overeat in an effort to feel better temporarily. Try to anticipate some of the possible emotional traps in advance so you can cope (and maybe even laugh) when you encounter them.– The well-known HALT slogan works for any type of recovery. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. This is especially important over the holidays.– ‘Tis the Season to Forgive, so forgive yourself if you have an eating slip.– Try your best not to skip appointments with your treatment team. It’s an important time to stay in touch with people who can help.

 

Dr Bulik also continued with an “Eating Pressure” interview recently conducted by CNN worth viewing.

And there is an equally interesting qualitative study: “Total Control? Eating Disorders and Emotional Responses to Food” conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia with the result podcast and interview available from CQ University’s International Program of Psych-Social Health Research Dept that looks at emotional responses to images of food presented to adults with eating disorders, and using the qualitative methodology to further measure and explore issues of self-control, food fears/responses, CBT-cognitive behavior therapy as a means to help adjust maladaptive ways of thinking and behaving. I think this could also be extremely beneficial to younger ED sufferers as well, and crucial for helping them deal more cohesively with their “fear” foods that many times get downplayed or ignored within many treatment programs by only having the patients eat the foods, or avoid them altogether in their meal plans.

And yet more leftovers, as lastly I found BBC’s-Radio4 All In The Mind Segment by Claudia Hammond insightful in regards to the variations in some residential programs and getting additional perspectives from patients who are going through the program, their personal thoughts and views. The “partnership” message from the Phoenix ED program in the UK director, Dr Thompson was also welcoming to hear in having patients play a significant role in their treatment and recovery process along with more collaborative and balanced strategies. The numbered tables that residents eat at are something quite interesting as well, with Table 1 being a level requiring most support and moving towards Table 3 with more independence, and thusly Table 2 being 50/50. I think to me what stands out is the ability to remain open to making changes and being creative in strategies, and not simply applying practices to ED care and treatment that simply don’t always work for the individual patient.

So while I’m still musing over Thanksgiving tidbits and at the same time putting up the Christmas lights and bringing out the boxes of holiday decorations, we’ll keep fighting and rallying behind our daughter to continue to move forward within her next level of recovery. Regaining some ground lost with deeper learning and strength gained (we all make mistakes and have setbacks- with or without an eating disorder!) We know we’ll get through this together and once again her place at the table will be filled when she is ready… until then leftovers may be on the menu for awhile.

Apako ashirwad mile Ganesh se-Blessings from Lord Ganesh
Vidya mile Saraswati se-Knowledge from Goddes Saraswati
Daulat mile Lakshmi se-Wealth from Goddess Lakshmi
Khushiyan mile Rab se-Happiness from the Divine
Pyaar mile Sab se-Love from everyone
Rahe yahi dua dil se dil ko-Let this be the wish from heart to heart!
‘HAPPY DIWALI’

 

With the passing of Mental Health Parity many who suffer from eating disorders will finally (albeit slowly-see how your state ranks) be able to begin receiving adequate insurance coverage and necessary treatment needed for long term recovery goals. Great progress without a doubt.

But there is a Judge by the honorable name Faith Hochberg who is rockin‘ the houses of Aetna, Horizon- Blue Cross/Blue Shield who has recently ruled:

                           __________________________________________________

– approval Tuesday to a class action settlement that requires Aetna Insurance Co. to provide about $300,000 in back payments to 119 insureds whose benefits for eating disorders were limited.

The company also promised to treat future claims more liberally and make internal reforms to resolve disputes over benefits for eating disorders.

U.S. District Judge Faith Hochberg also approved a $350,000 payment to the plaintiffs’ class counsel,
Nagel Rice in Roseland, N.J. All of the fee comes from Aetna, not out of a percentage of the class members’ recovery.

“It makes perfect sense to me,” Hochberg said after ruling that
the settlement in De Vito v. Aetna, 07-418, was fair, reasonable and adequate.

The settlement requires the company to treat some claims for anorexia and bulimia as it does claims for biologically based mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. That makes a class of eating-disorder patients eligible for eight months of treatment, compared with 20 outpatient visits per calendar year and 30 days of inpatient benefits.

The 119 insureds who will receive checks were those who had at least one claim limited by Aetna’s practices during the past seven years. And in the future, Aetna will treat anorexia and bulimia the same way it does BBMIs.

In addition, anyone Aetna determines to have no medical necessity for enhanced eating-disorder treatment during the next four years would have the right to elect binding review by an independent eating-disorder specialist selected with input from the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

At the same time, though, the settlement affects only patients in “fully insured” plans — those funded by employers. Enrollees in self-funded plans, such as employee welfare and state worker health benefits programs, are not covered by the settlement and would not automatically benefit from the more liberal process.

Nagel estimates that about 530,000 of Aetna’s 1.2 million insureds are eligible for the new claims procedures and that the process could be worth up to $2 million in recoveries by the insureds.

Law.com

President Signs Mental Health Parity Legislation!

Thanks to the thousands of Advocacy Network members who lent tireless support to our years-long effort to win enactment of legislation to end discrimination in mental health coverage. Today we won! After House passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act today, 263-171, President Bush has at last signed mental health/addiction parity into law.
Click here to learn more about the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008.

-Fantastic news worth celebrating!

 

A wonderful non-profit organization created by Gail Schoenbach For Recovery and Elimination of Eating Disorders – F.R.E.E.D. will be holding a Mother-Daughter Workshop in conjunction with the Eating Disorders Association of New Jersey Saturday, October 18th from 9:30AM-2:30PM at Summit Medical Group.

The workshop’s aim is to “engage women and girls as they explore and challenge their beliefs about themselves, their bodies, and body image”. Freelance journalist, blogger and author, Courtney E. Martin who wrote Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters will be the keynote presenter along with therapist, Suzanne Rubinetti.

F.R.E.E.D.’s mission is to:

  • Provide financial support for treating eating disorder (a major hindrance for sufferers and their families in obtaining treatment/recovery resources as well as follow-up care — F.R.E.E.D.’s priority and focus on this issue is to be commended).
  • Increase public awareness and provide educational resources.
  • Advocate for the acknowledgement and acceptance of Eating Disorders as a serious and urgent disease.

Ms Schoenbach’s own battle with ED and body image issues took place in silence for years until she began the slow process of recovery, and it was during this healing time that she found a passion and drive to create F.R.E.E.D. and her additional adjunct G.R.Schoenbach Foundation which holds annual fund-raising events and campaigns to continue her committed work.

Organizations like these are inspiring, so if you live in the New Jersey area, are a mother with a daughter with/without an eating disorder, go partake in “day of empowerment”, sharing, support and learning– it will do the body&mind good!

shanti

End Health Discrimination
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