The sky gets grey as we hit the midway point between NYC and the State Capital. A dusting of snow is on the ground, and flurries greet us as usual when we arrive at our destination. Many inches are forecast for later in the day. But the day is bright as we enter the building and stays that way in spirit after very encouraging meetings with State Senate and Assembly leadership.
Where are we? Albany in February. Why? Lobby day. A day when legislators are in their Albany offices, taking meetings with lobbyists and constituents.
The reason for our visit is to provide an update on the activities and services we were able to provide this past year as a result of generous state funding for our Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders, which is a combined effort of three regional Centers of Excellence. In 2004, New York State passed a law to create and fund this statewide network to enhance comprehensive, coordinated and continuous specialized treatment for eating disorders, and to facilitate early intervention for those in need to avoid complications and repeated hospitalizations.
The three regional centers (Western NY, Northeast NY, and Metro NY) cover all of New York State and are considered models of care. Here in New York City, the Metro NY CCCED is comprised of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, and Cohen Children’s Hospital. Western NY CCCED is based at the University of Rochester, School of Nursing and Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong Memorial Hospital, and Northeast CCCED is coordinated by Albany Medical Center.
A small sample of the services provided in the past year as a result of funding:
- expansion of partial hospital and intensive outpatient programs in Westchester
- telephone triage (screening and referral) for thousands of callers seeking help
- case management and peer mentorship in the Western region
- initiation of the Eating Disorder Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) which offers video-conferencing consultation services to practitioners in underserved areas in Western NY, as well as to school-based personnel
- production and distribution of educational videos for primary care professionals who have little or no experience in detecting and treating eating disorders, created in collaboration with the National Eating Disorders Association.
We hope to continue to expand upon all of these initiatives if level funding is granted. Our representatives were vocal about their support for our services and acknowledged that we offer a model of care that makes State dollars go far beyond the cost of individual services.
We were delighted to once again receive a proclamation declaring “Eating Disorders Awareness Week,” which is Feb 26th-March 4th this year. This legislative resolution is an important acknowledgment that recognizes the value of raising awareness about eating disorders and gives eating disorders a visible platform in our state. We are proud of our politicians who continue to consider the needs of their constituents.