Today, President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law. This comprehensive, bipartisan legislation co-led by Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07), Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), and Rep. David McKinley, P.E. (WV-01) will prevent suicide, and address burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. Named after Dr. Lorna Breen, a New York City emergency room physician who tragically died by suicide after enduring the trauma and burnout of working on the frontlines of the pandemic, seeks to establish training and other mental health resources for medical professionals and increase awareness about mental health concerns among the health care workforce.
"I was proud to join President Biden at the White House as he signed our Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act into law today to expand mental wellness resources for health care workers," Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said. "The COVID-19 Pandemic has wreaked havoc on our healthcare system and economy, but beyond that, it has wreaked havoc on the mental wellbeing of frontline workers. It is estimated that more than 300 doctors take their own lives each year, which is double the suicide rate of the general population. This legislation will help our healthcare professionals across the country as we honor the memory of Dr. Lorna Breen. To all the healthcare heroes fighting COVID and working long hours, this legislation is for you."
"Our health care heroes bravely stepped up in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, healing sick patients, preventing healthy ones from contracting the virus, and unfortunately, silently dealing with the trauma and stress of losing them under extraordinary circumstances," said Congresswoman Wild. "While our country and economy have begun to rebuild and recover, our frontline health care providers will carry the psychological trauma of their service for the rest of their lives. I'm extremely proud to see our bill, drafted out of gratitude and appreciation for our health care heroes, be signed into law by President Biden today, which will finally give our health care heroes the mental health resources and treatment they deserve."
"Healthcare providers at all levels carried our country through this pandemic. And they did at great risk to their own health, and often without access to PPE, vaccines, or adequate support staff and while being some of the only support for patients and families," said Congresswoman Judy Chu. "That has taken an incredibly toll on the mental health of many of these providers, and that is why I was honored to co-lead the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act to provide the necessary resources to help prevent burnout, suicide, and mental and behavioral health issues in health care workers. It's more clear than ever how essential our health care workforce is to our nation. But we have to make sure we are there for them as well, and this law, which President Biden is signing today, will help to meet that need and make sure we are giving our healthcare providers the same support they are giving us."
"It's time we take care of the health care professionals who are charged with caring for the rest of us," said Congressman David McKinley. "I'm proud that the Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Act, is now law, recognizing the dramatic toll that working on the frontlines has taken on health care professionals, especially as a result of the Covid pandemic. Too many health care providers experience burn out and serious mental health and substance abuse challenges due to the intensity of their work. This bill ensures their well-being is a priority while aiming to remove the stigma of health care workers seeking help to address mental health or substance abuse challenges," said McKinley.
Specifically, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act:
Establishes grants for training health profession students, residents, or health care professionals in evidence-informed strategies to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. The grants would also help improve health care professionals' well-being and job satisfaction.
Seeks to identify and disseminate evidence-informed best practices for reducing and preventing suicide and burnout among health care professionals, training health care professionals in appropriate strategies, and promoting their mental and behavioral health and job satisfaction.
Establishes a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign targeting health care professionals to encourage them to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns.
Establishes grants for employee education, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment; health care providers in current or former COVID-19 hotspots will be prioritized.
Establishes a comprehensive study on health care professional mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals' health.
This legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Wild (PA-07), with Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), and Rep. David McKinley, P.E. (WV-01) and led in the Senate by Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA).
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is supported by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), American Academy Of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student Association (AAEM/RSA), American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of PAs, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), American College of Physicians (ACP), American Counseling Association, American Dance Therapy Association, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association, American Medical Student Association, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Associated Medical Schools of New York (AMSNY), Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare, Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness, Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), Ballad Health, Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD), Columbia University Irving Medical Center, EMDR International Association, Emergency Nurses Association (ENA), Envision Healthcare, Federation of State Medical Boards, Federation of State Physician Health Programs (FSPHP), Mental Health America, National Association of Social Workers, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, National Board Certified Counselors, National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), Postpartum Support International, RI International, SMART Recovery, The International OCD Foundation, The Jed Foundation, UVA Health, and the Well Being Trust.
Read the full text of the bill here.