March 21, 2022

Young, Kaine Bill to Promote Health Care Provider Mental Health Becomes Law

WASHINGTON – On Friday, President Joe Biden signed the bipartisan Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law. Introduced by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the comprehensive legislation will help reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals.

“Throughout the pandemic, our frontline workers put their health on the line each and every day so that Hoosier communities could stay safe and secure,” said Senator Young.“The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act will provide these selfless workers with the support they deserve to prevent suicide and promote mental and behavioral health for years to come.”

“The mental health consequences of COVID-19 are particularly acute for our frontline health care healers, who’ve made tremendous sacrifices to care for their patients in uncharted times. This bill is a critical first step to provide them with mental health resources to cope with the challenges they face every day. Supporting our health care workforce will benefit everyone because we all need great medical professionals to take care of us and our loved ones. By keeping our health care professionals healthy, everyone in society wins,” said Senator Kaine.

Named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician from Charlottesville, Virginia who was working on the front lines of the pandemic in New York and died by suicide in the Spring of 2020, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is a critical step to address mental health concerns facing health care providers.

Specifically, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act will:

  • Establish grants for health profession schools, academic health centers, or other institutions to help them train health workers in strategies to prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders.
  • Seek to identify and disseminate evidence-informed best practices for reducing andpreventing suicide and burnout among health care professionals and for training health care professionals in appropriate strategies to promote their mental health.
  • Establish a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign targeting health care professionals to encourage them to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns.
  • Establish grants for health care providers and professional associations for employee education, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment.
  • Establish a comprehensive study on health care professionals’ mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals’ health.

The legislation passed the Senate on February 18, 2022, and the House on December 8, 2021.