On March 18th, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. The act is named for Lorna Breen, MD, who was the chair of the emergency department at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital until she died by suicide April 26th, 2020.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation states that 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.
I am reminded of the numerous quotes submitted by emergency physicians across the country last year during a critical point in the COVID pandemic. I asked, “How bad is it where you are?” and in response, many physicians shared stories of boarding, lack of staff, lack of resources, and a tremendous burden of patient death due to severe COVID.
…This situation is tragic, almost hopeless. And no one wants to listen.FL
I hit a wall this week. It’s exhausting…I just keep thinking we have to eventually get through this. And we have to take care of each other and the rest of the staff around us who are having the same trials.Unknown
…I also question daily how long I can keep doing this crazy job.TX
…We are not winning.FL
… In 16 years of practice, this the worst thing I have ever seen.FL
… This is not sustainable for our healthcare workforce… I do not see an end to this broken system. It’s so disheartening. And the C suite has no idea of our burden…MO
According to the White House, “Three-quarters of frontline health care workers report burnout, while more than half say they lack adequate supports to cope.” In response to these experiences, the death of Dr. Breen, and the combined effort of more than 70 organizations, the passage of this legislation brings us one step closer to better understanding and relief for frontline healthcare workers who feel the same burden described by the physicians quoted above.
Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved. Know that there is help when you are ready.
For more information and resources:
- CDC – Support for Public Health Workers and Health Professionals
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Mental Health America -The Mental Health of Healthcare Workers in COVID19
- Heroes Health Initiative
If there is someway we can help, our EB Medicine contact form is here as well.