Biden Signs Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act
President Biden on March 18 signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (H.R. 1667/S. 610) into law. The legislation will provide critical funding and support for education, training and additional resources to support the mental health and well-being of health care providers. The law is named after Lorna Breen, MD, who died by suicide in April 2020 following an intense stretch treating COVID-19 patients at the onset of the pandemic.
The ACC, along with more than 70 medical organizations, endorsed the act as it moved through the House and Senate and it was one of the key messages shared by attendees of ACC's 2021 Legislative Conference in meetings with members of Congress.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and further highlighted existing well-being issues facing health care providers. We know that clinician well-being is vital to providing high-quality patient care, but clinician burnout has continued to increase," said ACC President Dipti Itchhaporia, MD, FACC. "As a longtime leader in the clinician well-being space, the ACC is proud to have supported the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. While this act cannot bring back Dr. Breen, our hope is that the funding for studies, training, awareness campaigns and more will honor her memory by supporting the well-being of current and future health care providers now and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic."
Specifically, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act will:
- Establish funding to train health profession students, residents and health care professionals on evidence-informed strategies that reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use disorders as well as improve well-being and job satisfaction
- Establish grants intended for employee education, peer-support programming and mental and behavioral health treatment, with health care providers in "current or former COVID-19 hotspots" receiving precedence
- Identify and distribute evidence-informed best practices for reducing and preventing suicide and burnout among health care professionals and promoting mental and behavioral health and job satisfaction
- Create a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign geared toward health care professionals that urges them to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns
- Develop a comprehensive study on health care professional mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their health
"The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act will offer important resources to address the stigma of seeking timely and appropriate help for burnout and mental health concerns, as well as develop and share evidence-informed strategies to improve well-being and professional fulfillment," said ACC Clinician Well-Being Workgroup Chair Laxmi Mehta, MD, FACC. "While many drivers of burnout can be attributed to local issues – piloting and identifying organizational, team and individual-based interventions is critical to addressing this growing crisis within health care."
Addressing clinician well-being is a strategic priority of the ACC and a critical factor in achieving the College's Mission to transform cardiovascular care and improve heart health. Learn more about the College's clinician well-being strategy emphasizing the importance of a culture of wellness, team efficiency and personal resilience and access resources and support for clinicians on the Clinician Well-Being Portal. Additional national resources include the Physician Support Line, 1-888-409-0141 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273- TALK.
Keywords: COVID-19, Pandemics, Mental Health, Health Personnel, Physicians, Suicide, Suicide, Assisted, Substance-Related Disorders, Health Occupations, Patient Care, Patient Satisfaction, SARS-CoV-2, Burnout, Professional, ACC Advocacy
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