WASHINGTON — A bipartisan bill introduced by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton and six other representatives would create grant programs designed to support the mental health of healthcare workers.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is aimed at preventing burnout, depression, suicide and other mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals.
Lorna Breen was a physician at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physician & Surgeons in New York City, which was among the hardest hit areas in the U.S. by the coronavirus pandemic. Breen committed suicide in April.
The bill would create grant programs for training health profession students, residents, or healthcare professionals in strategies to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use disorders. It would also create grants for employee education, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment; healthcare providers in current or former COVID-19 hotspots will be prioritized.
It would establish a national education and awareness campaign targeting healthcare professionals to encourage them to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns.
“Our healthcare heroes in Michigan and across the nation are doing everything right now to take care of us – now it’s our turn to support them,” Upton, R-St. Joseph, said in a statement. “Health care workers on the front lines during the worst public health crisis in 100 years are under enormous pressure. Stress and strain from extended hours and watching suffering up close would impact any of us.
“This bipartisan legislation would help promote mental and behavioral health for our health care professionals, improving their overall well-being.”
Reps. Max Rose, D-New York; David McKinley, R-West Virginia; Anthony Brindisi, D-New York; Denver Riggleman, R-Virginia; Gil Cisneros, D-California; and Morgan Griffith, R-Virginia, also co-sponsored the legislation. A concurrent bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.