With the new Medicare response for eating disorders across the country, people with severe and complex eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, will soon be able to access new Medicare items to support a model of evidence-based care to help manage these complex conditions. This is a monumental reform in treating eating disorders in Australia and is a significant milestone for the one million Australians living with an eating disorder. This is also a first step to improving the lives of those affected by this serious mental illness. Having a public health insurance program like Medicare in Australia is the foundation to providing treatment for people battling anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. This reform has been welcomed by individuals experiencing eating disorders, their families, by clinicians and by eating disorder organisations across Australia including the Butterfly Foundation and the Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED).
This Medicare reform has been designed with input from leading clinicians from a number of disciplines. In order to ensure that MBS services will be provided by qualified and eligible practitioners with knowledge, skills and experience in providing treatment to patients with eating disorders, The Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) along with colleagues across Australia in State-based Eating Disorder Training Organisations, are continuing to build capacity across the workforce in Australia to treat eating disorders.
ANZAED and the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) are developing a credentialing system for eating disorder practitioners. The credentialing system will be based on NEDC’s Core Workforce Competencies for Eating Disorders and ANZAED’s Clinical Practice and Training Standards for professionals treating eating disorders.
“The Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders welcomes Medicare’s acknowledgement that eating disorders are part of a growing mental health crisis in Australia. Early detection plus treatment by mental health clinicians and dietitians trained and specialising in eating disorders can help patients recover,” said Dr Kim Hurst, ANZAED President.
The Butterfly Foundation has advocated tirelessly and worked with Government, and its partners and colleagues in mental health to achieve this milestone. The national eating disorders Helpline will be available to help eligible Australians understand more about these new Medicare items numbers.