Skip to Content

Bill to improve eating disorder care passes Colorado House Committee

Senate Health and Human Services Committee

DENVER, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SB24-117 by a vote of six to three. The bill aims to protect patients and improve treatment outcomes in Colorado's eating disorder care centers.

Before the hearing, legislators, patients, and advocates held a press conference in recognition of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week in support of Senate Bill 117.

"The reality is nearly one in ten Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime, a rate that is increasingly spiking among our youth. Tragically, eating disorders also have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to take action to increase opportunities for healing by putting in standards of care that ensure compassionate, humane treatment for all Coloradans suffering with eating disorders. We are pleased to see the legislation move out of our committee today."

Lisa Cutter | State Senator

According to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Colorado's eating disorder facilities lack the programmatic oversight and regulations needed to ensure patient safety and high-quality care. Lawmakers considered a bill last year that would have added protections for eating disorder patients, but eventually abandoned those efforts. Just a few weeks later, two patients at a Denver earing disorder facility aged 11 and 14 repeatedly attempted suicide after the facility's leadership instructed staff to ignore the patient's behavior, which prompted an investigation from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

"If left untreated, eating disorders will claim up one out of five patient's lives, yet our treatment system often fails to provide appropriate, empathetic care for those seeking support in overcoming this deadly condition. We have heard far too many disturbing and tragic stories about treatment for eating disorders retraumatizing patients. We can and must do better, and I am grateful to my colleagues in the Senate for recognizing this legislation as an important step forward in our efforts to ensure all patients have access to high-quality health care."

Chris deGruy Kennedy | State Representative

According to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, Senate Bill 117 will provide programmatic oversight around the use of forced feeding tubes and isolation, gender-appropriate accommodations and care, privacy, bathroom policies, and other treatment practices that have caused harm to patients.  Patients at Colorado’s eating disorder treatment centers often describe punitive environments, including being threatened with feeding tubes and isolation. They also point to a lack of cultural sensitivity, particularly for LGBTQ patients, as well as privacy concerns.

In my struggle with anorexia, I watched my health, talents, and dreams slip away. During this time, I was earnestly seeking recovery—a journey that was made increasingly difficult by the cost of treatment, providers who lacked training, and feelings of helplessness and depression. Surprisingly, eating disorder treatment has been largely unregulated at the state, national, and international levels. By establishing legislation to oversee and create more consistent guidelines for treatment centers, Colorado is at the cutting edge of eating disorder legislation. This is a good first step towards improving, humanizing, and critically re-examining our treatment practices.”

Erin Harrop

Stats on eating disorders:

We are grateful to Colorado legislators for prioritizing compassionate, culturally-competent and gender-affirming care for all patients seeking treatment for an eating disorder, one of the most prevalent and deadly mental health conditions. When the treatment is worse than the illness, we know we will not see the positive outcomes our communities and patients need. This legislation is an important step forward to put more Coloradans on the path to recovery."

Vincent Atchity | President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado
Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Alexander Brunet

Alex is a Digital Content and Weekend Broadcast Producer for Good Morning Colorado.


KRDO NewsChannel 13 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content