House passes UVA alum named bill strengthening mental health services for medical professionals



Mental Health
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The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to pass bipartisan legislation to support the mental and behavioral health of medical professionals.

The Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act would authorize grants to train healthcare professionals in evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health issues and substance use disorders, as well as to fund mental and behavioral health treatment and peer support. programming.

Healthcare providers in current or former COVID-19 hotspots would be prioritized in distributing these grants.

This legislation is named after Dr. Lorna M. Breen, an emergency physician from Charlottesville and a graduate of the University of Virginia medical school, who died by suicide in April 2020 while working on the front lines during the onset of COVID- 19 pandemic in New York.

“Dr. Breen’s story is absolutely heartbreaking – and her death was a tragic time for the UVA community, as well as for our entire Commonwealth and our country,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA -07), co-sponsor of the legislation. “From the earliest days of the pandemic, she – along with thousands of dedicated healthcare professionals across our country – worked tirelessly to treat patients in overcrowded waiting rooms The crippling pressures these heroes face day in and day out have been dramatically exacerbated by a global pandemic.

“Lorna Breen’s Healthcare Provider Protection Act would not only provide much needed help to our doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals, but it would encourage them to seek help and treatment when they need it. need. These heroes have been on the front lines of this pandemic for almost two years, and I am proud to see so many of my colleagues understand that we must do all we can to protect those who work so selflessly to protect us, ”said Spanberger .

“We are delighted that the House of Representatives has passed Dr. Lorna Breen’s Healthcare Provider Protection Act and are grateful to the Virginia Congressional delegation for the leadership of this important legislation,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, CEO of UVA Health. and executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Virginia. “We firmly believe that we provide the best care to our patients when we have a resilient and compassionate healthcare workforce as well as a responsive, caring and supportive environment to our patients and to each other. “

This bill would also establish a comprehensive study on mental and behavioral health and burnout among healthcare professionals, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health of professionals.

In addition, the American Rescue Plan Act – pass in March of this year – included funding for major programs related to the mental and behavioral health of health care providers. The Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act would authorize these already funded programs and include additional elements that were not included in previous legislation.

This bill is supported by many physician and suicide prevention groups including UVA Health, American Academy of Emergency Medicine, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, American Medical Association.

Click here to read the full text of the bill.



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