WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), announced her co-sponsorship of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, bipartisan legislation to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. Health care professionals have long experienced high levels of stress and burnout, and throughout the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further exacerbated the problem.
“While our doctors, nurses, and health professionals take care of us, we must not forget to take care of them during this challenging time,” said Senator Rosen. “This legislation will address the increase in suicides in the medical profession by promoting mental and behavioral health among those working on the frontlines of the pandemic and funding programs to improve health care professionals’ well-being and job satisfaction. I will continue working to improve our public health infrastructure and protect the well-being of Nevada’s medical professionals.”
BACKGROUND: While helping their patients fight for their lives, many health care professionals have been coping with their own trauma of losing patients and colleagues and fear for their own health and safety. The issue captured national attention in April 2020 when Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician from Charlottesville, Virginia, working on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York, died by suicide.
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.