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Kaine Applauds House Passage Of His Bipartisan Bill To Promote Health Care Provider Mental Health

Bill Named In Honor Of Dr. Lorna Breen, A Charlottesville Native Who Died By Suicide While Serving On Frontlines Of Pandemic

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded House passage of his bipartisan Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, comprehensive legislation to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. Having passed the Senate and the House, the bill is now one step closer to becoming law.

"The pandemic has taken a devastating toll on the mental health of our nation's health care workers," said Senator Kaine. "This legislation will work to prevent burnout and suicide among our nation's healers by providing them with the mental health support they need. I thank my co-leads in the Senate and the House for helping get this legislation to this crucial milestone, and I look forward to the President signing this bill into law."

Named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician from Charlottesville, Virginia who was working on the frontlines 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 our health care providers during COVID-19.

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. The grants would also help improve health care professionals’ well-being and job satisfaction.
  • Seek to identify and disseminate evidence-informed best practices for reducing and preventing suicide and burnout among health care professionals, training health care professionals in appropriate strategies, and promoting their mental and behavioral health and job satisfaction.
  • 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; health care providers in current or former COVID-19 hotspots will be prioritized.
  • Establish a comprehensive study on health care professional mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals’ health.

Since first introducing the bill in July 2020, Senator Kaine has been a leader in addressing the mental health impact of the pandemic on health care workers and has continued to urge Congress to prioritize this issue. Some provisions modeled after the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act were funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, COVID relief legislation signed into law in March 2021, but the full bill is needed to authorize all of the programs in the bill and provide more direction on how the money should be spent.

Kaine led the bipartisan and bicameral re-introduction of this legislation in March 2021 and was joined by U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), as well as U.S. Representatives Susan Wild (D-PA-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL-08), Judy Chu (D-CA-27), and David McKinley (R-WV-01).