PRESS RELEASE

REPS. WILD, CARTER, DINGELL, AND KIGGANS URGE FULL FUNDING FOR BIPARTISAN DR. LORNA BREEN HEALTH CARE PROVIDER PROTECTION ACT

Charlottesville, VA (May 04, 2024) – Today, Congresswoman Wild joined Congressman Carter [R-GA-01], Congresswoman Dingell [D-MI-12], and Congresswoman Kiggans [R-VA-02] in leading 10 of their colleagues in a letter urging the programs enacted by the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act receive full funding in the Fiscal Year 2025 Appropriations process.

Named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, an emergency room physician who tragically died by suicide after enduring the trauma and burnout of working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act established training and other mental health resources for medical professionals. Since its signing into law on March 18, 2022, 45 organizations have received over $100 million in grants to serve the mental health needs of health care workers. The four Members also recently introduced the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act, which would extend the programs through 2029.

“Our health care workers are heroes who put their lives on the line during the pandemic to keep us safe,” said Congresswoman Susan Wild. “Now, as they are experiencing disproportionately high rates of burnout, depression, and suicide, we have a responsibility to provide them with the care, support, and mental health resources they need by fulling funding the Dr. Lorna Breen Act.”

“We are profoundly grateful to Representatives Wild, Carter, Dingell, Kiggans and all members of Congress for their dedication to swiftly continue support for our healthcare workforce’s well-being,” said Corey Feist, JD, MBA, co-founder and CEO of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation. “Our health workers are in a mental health crisis—fueling the health worker shortage each and every American is experiencing today when trying to access high-quality care. For our healthcare system to truly provide every patient with the care they need, and deserve, in their lifetime, we must care for our caregivers and reauthorize and increase funding of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act.”

“Health care providers dedicate their lives to keeping us healthy. Unfortunately, their mental health is often overlooked as they spend their hours caring for patients. By fully funding the programs outlined in the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, we can address this mental health crisis so that those who work hard to care for us have the same resources available to them,” said Congressman Earl L. “Buddy” Carter.

“Healthcare professionals dedicate their lives to serving their patients, often at the expense of their own physical and emotional wellbeing. We must fully fund the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act to provide much-needed resources to address the burnout and mental health challenges doctors and nurses face, and continue reducing the stigma surrounding mental health care,” said Congresswoman Debbie Dingell.

“As burnout rates among healthcare workers continue to skyrocket, it is more important than ever to provide them with the support and resources they need to properly care for themselves, their mental health, and their patients,” said Congresswoman Kiggans, Vice Chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Nursing Caucus. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in leading the effort to take care of the incredible nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals in our communities.”

In their letter,the Members wrote, “These initiatives will end without renewed funding, leaving millions of health care workers without assistance and with little hope for positive change in the future. By supporting our health care workforce, we will enhance existing providers’ ability to get the care they need and address the root causes of burnout in our health care workforce, strengthening our health care system as a result.”

“Given the unmet needs of our nation’s health care workforce, we request that you fully fund the programs enacted by the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act,” the Members continued.

Read the full letter here and below.

“Dear Chair Aderholt and Ranking Member DeLauro,

As the Subcommittee begins consideration of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill, and on behalf of millions of health care workers that account for 14% of all U.S. workers, we respectfully request full funding for the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Protection Act. To date, the programs enacted by the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Protection Act have been critical in addressing burnout among our health care workforce through education and evidence-informed training, and without continued funding, this support disappears.

Our nation’s health care workers face a mental health crisis, nearly half (46%) of health care workers reported often feeling burned out in 2022. Burnout too often results in tragedy, with physicians and nurses at an increased risk of death by suicide compared to non-health care workers. This crisis impacts our health care workforce, their families, and the integrity of our health care system. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, 100,000 nurses left the workforce during the pandemic and by 2027, almost 900,000, one-fifth of the registered nurses in the U.S., intend to leave the workforce, threatening the national health care system at large if solutions are not enacted. Addressing burnout is critical to strengthening the health care workforce and ensuring that our front-line healers have the tools necessary to care for themselves and our communities.

Passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act allowed for the creation of two distinctly important pathways to address burnout among the health care workforce. The Impact Wellbeing campaign educates hospital and health system leaders on burnout among health care workers and provides them with evidence-informed solutions to address burnout. Further, grants to 44 health care organizations across the country have supported institutions in their quest to establish, improve, or expand upon evidence-informed programs to address burnout. These initiatives will end without renewed funding, leaving millions of health care workers without assistance and with little hope for positive change in the future. By supporting our health care workforce, we will enhance existing providers’ ability to get the care they need and address the root causes of burnout in our health care workforce, strengthening our health care system as a result.

Given the unmet needs of our nation’s health care workforce, we request that you fully fund the programs enacted by the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Susan Wild (D-PA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Colin Allred (D-TX), Jen Kiggans (R-VA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), Haley Stevens (D-MI), Stephen Lynch (D-MA), Summer Lee (D-PA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Seth Magaziner (D-RI), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Gabe Amo (D-RI).”

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