The AAMC recently endorsed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (S.610, H.R. 1677), which would authorize initiatives addressing suicide, mental health, and burnout among health professionals.
In letters sent to the Senate on March 4 and the House on March 10, the AAMC stated, “There are numerous systemic and other sources for the high levels of stress and burnout that have long plagued health professionals, and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is only exacerbating the problem. Yet, stigma, bias, and other barriers can hinder health professionals from seeking and receiving care for new or ongoing mental and behavioral health challenges.”
The legislation, which was introduced by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.); Bill Cassidy, MD (R-La.); Jack Reed (D-R.I.); and Todd Young (R-Ind.) in the Senate and Reps. Susan Wild (D-Pa.); David McKinley (R-W.Va.); Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.); and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) in the House, would authorize Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII grants for training health professions students, residents, or professionals in evidence-informed strategies to address and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders.
The bill would also establish a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that encourages health care professionals to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns. It would also launch two comprehensive studies on health care professionals’ mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals’ health.
The American Rescue Plan (H.R. 1319), which President Biden signed into law on March 11, provides $140 million in one-time supplemental appropriation for the HRSA training programs and CDC awareness campaign [see related story].