Eating disorders rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic – particularly among teens and young adults – and cases and hospitalizations continue to surge. To address the pressing need for accessible eating disorder treatment options, Regence has partnered with Equip, a virtual treatment program, to offer in-network access to the virtual provider’s evidence-based care for patients ages 6 to 24.
“Eating disorders can be a life-threatening condition and are among the most difficult mental health issues to treat,” said Regence’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Donna Milavetz. “Education, early intervention and individualized treatment are critical to long-term recovery. Regence’s partnership with Equip helps us reduce barriers to care and connect our young members to targeted, evidence-based treatment that also strengthens family and community support.”
A rise in mental health challenges, isolation and social media use the past few years drove a significant increase in the rates of eating disorders in adolescents and young adults. Eating disorders often present with one or more co-occurring conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders, emphasizing the need for broad, integrated care.
To support patients and their families through eating disorder recovery at home, Equip pioneered a new treatment model that builds upon Family-Based Treatment (FBT), an evidence-based eating disorder treatment method for young people and adolescents. The company provides patients with a five-person dedicated care team, including a peer and family mentor, a medical provider, a therapist and a dietitian. Because Equip’s platform is fully virtual, families can schedule treatment to fit their individual needs without having to upend their routines or send children away from home.
A 2022 peer-reviewed study on Equip’s model found that 80 percent of patients achieve their weight restoration goals, and family members feel more confident and less burdened taking care of their loved one. The study also showed that after 16 weeks of treatment, patients’ eating disorder symptoms were reduced by half and symptoms of depression and anxiety lessened by one-third.
“For years, the eating disorder treatment landscape has been in desperate need of transformation,” said Equip’s Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer Erin Parks, Ph.D. “30 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder, yet fewer than 20 percent will ever receive treatment – and even less receive treatment that works. Equip’s mission is to close this gap, ensuring that affordable, evidence-based eating disorder care is accessible to anyone who needs it. Our partnership with Regence will help us make major strides toward that goal.”
Regence members can visit Equip’s website or call (855) 387-4378 to learn more. Regence members can also sign in to their regence.com member account to find additional mental health resources and virtual care options.
If you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, dial 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The service provides free, confidential, 24/7 support to anyone who’s depressed, needs to talk or is thinking about suicide.
Regence serves more than 3.4 million people through its Regence health plans in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Each Regence health plan is a nonprofit independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Regence is part of a family of companies dedicated to transforming health care by delivering innovative products and services that change the way consumers nationwide experience health care. For more information, please visit regence.com.
Equip is the leading provider of virtual, evidence-based eating disorder treatment in the U.S. Founded in 2019, Equip is built upon a combination of clinical expertise and lived experience to transform eating disorder care and make it accessible to all patients and families.
Built on the Family-Based Treatment (FBT) model, Equip uses a five-person dedicated care team – including a therapist, dietitian, medical provider, and peer & family mentor – to support patients in their recovery journey. The company operates in most states and is partnered with nearly every major health insurance plan. For more information, visit equip.health.