Bill targets access to care for eating disorders

Eating Disorders graphic

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – After a Kentucky mother traveled to the Capitol twice in recent months to testify about the heart-wrenching decision to send her daughter out of state for treatment of anorexia nervosa, legislation addressing access to that specialized care advanced out of the state Senate Monday.

“The issue of eating disorders has largely been ignored in Kentucky,” said Senate Republican Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams of Louisville, who sponsored the measure, known as Senate Bill 82. “It is a mental health diagnosis that essentially means an individual has little or no options for care in the state. It is time for this issue to be addressed by the members of the General Assembly.”

- Advertisement -

Adams said 900,000 Kentuckians, including nearly 30,000 children, have been diagnosed with an eating disorder. She added there are no acute care programs, residential or partial hospitalization programs for eating disorders in Kentucky.

SB 82 would establish the Kentucky Eating Disorder Council. The group would oversee the development and implementation of eating disorder awareness, education, prevention and research programs. The council would also be responsible for making recommendations regarding legislative and regulatory changes to improve access to care for eating disorders.

The second section of SB 82 would establish a trust to support the council. It would befunded by public and private sector grants or contributions. SB 82 passed by a 34-0 vote.

In other activity from the floor, Senate Bill 122 also cleared the chamber. It’s a modification to Tim’s Law of 2017. Tim’s Law allowed judges to order assisted outpatient treatment for people who have been involuntarily hospitalized at least twice in the past 12 months. SB 122 would extend the period to 24 months.

“The goal is to stop that revolving door of these individuals in and out of the state psychiatric hospital, in and out of the responsibility of peace officers for their transportation, in and out of mental inquest court, and in and out of jail when they break the law as a result of their untreated serious mental illness,” said Adams, who also sponsored SB 122. The bill passed by a 33-1 vote.

SB 82 and SB 122 will now go to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Previous articleMan shot in Home Depot parking lot during robbery in Lexington
Next articleLexington’s flu numbers continue to rise
Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.