Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Montecatini Eating Disorder Treatment Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Montecatini Eating Disorder Treatment Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

New York Fights Eating Disorders By Restricting Ipecac

Ipecac is being closely regulated in New York. The drug induces vomiting and has long been associated with the tragic anorexia death of Karen Carpenter.

In a move that may be followed by other states, New York has instituted new restrictions on the sale of ipecac syrup, a drug that is used to induce vomiting in poison victims.  Ipecac, which is derived from a South American plant, has a history of abuse by people with eating disorders.  The bill that was signed by Governor Cuomo will not outlaw ipecac, but it will require pharmacies to move the syrup from open shelves to behind the counter.  The hope is that making the drug less accessible will limit its availability to people suffering from bulimia, anorexia and binge eating.

A New York mother named Debbie Begeny was instrumental in getting the bill before the legislature.  Her daughter Heather, who suffered from anorexia and bulimia, died at age 22 from cardiac arrest.  After her daughter’s death, Begeny found 20 bottles of ipecac in Heather’s room and realized that she had been using it to induce vomiting in the final weeks of her life.

Begeny would have liked to have seen ipecac become available by prescription only, but that restriction was removed from the final legislation.  Instead, customers will have to ask a pharmacist or store manager for ipecac.  While Begeny doesn’t think this will stop ipecac abuse, she concedes that it’s a step in the right direction.

For years, pediatricians and child-care experts recommended keeping ipecac in the family first aid kit to aid in treating accidental poisoning.  However, the administration of ipecac carries some risk since vomiting should not always take place when a poison is caustic.  Because of the risks in administering ipecac for poisoning and the potential for irreversible damage to the heart when ipecac is abused, in 2003 the American Academy of Pediatrics changed its position on ipecac and no longer recommends that it be kept in the home.

The most famous victim of ipecac poisoning is Karen Carpenter, an American pop singer who died of heart failure in 1983.  Carpenter, who was 32 at the time of her death, had suffered from anorexia for several years.  Although her family thought she used laxatives rather than ipecac to maintain a low body weight, the Los Angeles coroner pronounced the cause of her death as complications from anorexia nervosa and heart damage brought on by emetine, a chemical that is present in ipecac.

According to New York Senator Patrick Gallivan, sponsor of the new bill, ipecac has proven to be only marginally useful in cases of accidental poisoning but is a serious public health concern because of the high rate of abuse.