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Senate HELP Committee Advances Maternal Health, Physician Well-being Legislation

May 27, 2021

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CONTACTS
Allyson Perleoni, Manager, Government Relations
Brett Roude, Legislative Analyst

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee marked up and advanced legislation impacting physician well-being and maternal health on May 25. The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (LBA, S. 610) and the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act (S. 1675) both passed the committee by voice vote.

The AAMC-endorsed LBA would authorize: a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Title VII grant program 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; a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) campaign to encourage health professionals to seek treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns; and  a study looking at the impacts of burnout, stress, mental health, and substance use disorder on health professionals in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic [refer to Washington Highlights, March 12].

The committee approved an amended version of the legislation, which would authorize $35 million for the HRSA grant program and $10 million for the CDC awareness campaign, compared to at least $50 million for multiple HRSA programs in the original bill. The HRSA and CDC grant programs that would be authorized under the LBA received $140 million in supplemental funding in the American Rescue Plan (P.L. 117-2) [refer to Washington Highlights, March 12].

The committee also advanced the AAMC-supported Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act. This legislation would seek to improve maternal health and mortality by providing grants to hospitals and medical schools to develop evidence-based best practices to reduce maternal mortality, providing grants to improve racial and ethnic bias training for health care providers, studying best practices for preventing and teaching health professionals to reduce discrimination, expanding perinatal quality collaborative grants, and providing grants to develop integrated services for pregnant and postpartum women.

The LBA (H.R. 1667) has been introduced in the House, while the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act is awaiting introduction in the House.

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