FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
February 17, 2022
Phone: (530) 545-9274
Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation Hails Senate Passage of Legislation
Protecting Healthcare Workers’ Mental Health
Historic Legislation Now Heads to President for Signature
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation today praised the U.S. Senate for passing the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. The legislation is named after Dr. Lorna Breen, a New York City emergency room physician who tragically died by suicide in Spring 2020 after treating confirmed COVID-19 patients, aims to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health assistance among health care professionals.
Jennifer Breen Feist and Corey Feist, co-founders of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation released a video praising the bill’s passage.
“We want to take a moment with you to pause and let all those health care professionals know that we heard you and we have been working diligently to support you,” said Jennifer Breen Feist, co-founder of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation. “We owe each of you our deepest gratitude for all you’ve done for us and for this country.”
Backed by more than 70 organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the American College of Emergency Physicians, the comprehensive legislation is the first of its kind to allocate specific funds towards 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.
“Our health care workers have long suffered significant burnout, and it’s been exacerbated by serving on the front lines combatting COVID 19,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the lead sponsor on the bill. “We owe these healers not only a debt of gratitude, but more robust support. This legislation will take steps to provide them with greater resources to cope with the mental health challenges they face.”
Specifically, the legislation:
- 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.
“From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank our congressional champions who have been with us from the very beginning, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), Sen. Todd Young (R-IN), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA), and Rep David McKinley (R-WV), by prioritizing our health care heroes’ mental health and well-being, concluded Feist.
Now that the legislation has passed in both the Senate and the House, it will head to the president’s desk for signature into law.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation’s mission is to reduce burnout of health care professionals and safeguard their well-being and job satisfaction. We envision a world where seeking mental health services is universally viewed as a sign of strength for health care professionals. For more information or to contact the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation, please visit https://drlornabreen.org/.