A bill to reduce and prevent burnout, suicide and mental health problems for health professionals has been passed in the U.S. Senate. It is in the process of getting to the desk of President Biden for his signature.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, proposed by Virginia Senator. Tim Kaine, in July 2020, was named after the doctor who was on the frontlines in New York City during the initial stages of COVID-19. Breen was killed by suicide in spring 2020.
“Our health professionals suffer from burnout for a long time, and the problem has only been worsened due to their service on frontlines of fighting COVID-19,” Kaine said. Kaine.” We believe that we are owed to these healers not just an obligation of appreciation but also more robust assistance. The legislation will be able to give them more options to deal with the mental health issues they are confronted with.”
The bipartisan bill was approved last Friday and is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind. ), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La. ).
According to a press release from Kaine’s office, the new bill:
Create grants for health professions institutions, such as academic health centers or other institutions, to assist them in training health professionals on strategies to avoid burnout, suicide, mental health problems, and other addiction issues. These grants will also help increase health professionals’ health and satisfaction with their jobs.
Try to discover and communicate the most effective, evidence-based methods for preventing and reducing burnout and suicide for health professionals, educating health professionals in the right strategies, and encouraging their health and well-being and satisfaction at work.
Develop a national evidence-based educational and awareness campaign aimed at health professionals to inspire them to seek help and treatment for behavioral and mental health issues.
Set up grants for health professionals and professional associations for the education of employees, peer-support programs, and treatment for mental and behavioral health. Health care providers who are located in COVID-19 hot spots will receive prioritized.
Create a comprehensive study on health professionals’ mental and behavioral health and burnout and the effect of the COVID-19 epidemic on these professionals’ health.
Specific provisions of the bill were already paid for through The American Rescue Plan Act, which was approved in 2021; however, it was necessary to pass this bill to fully authorize and provide more guidance regarding how the funds will be allocated.
Jennifer Breen Feist, sister to the late Dr. Breen, and her husband, Corey Feist, cofounded the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes Foundation in 2021, intending to “reduce the burnout among health professionals and ensure their health.”
“We would like you to allow us to take a moment and let those healthcare experts know we listened to you and that we’ve been working hard to support you. We owe all of you our sincere gratitude for everything you’ve done to us and our nation,” the Feists said after the bill’s passing.
The House approved the bill in December of last year the same year, and a previous version was approved through the Senate on August 1, Kaine said. The account needed to be passed by the Senate for a second time due to the changes that Kaine called minor tweaks.