May 25, 2021

Video: Kaine Applauds Committee Passage of His Bipartisan Bill to Promote Health Care Provider Mental Health

Committee also passed provision of his bill to reduce maternal and infant mortality 

Video: https://timkaine.box.com/s/2oencwwa359eoprh4jp11udu8etvow3z

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded committee passage of his bipartisan legislation to prevent burnout, suicide, and mental and behavioral health issues in health care workers. Reintroduced by Kaine in March, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is named after a Charlottesville-born physician who died by suicide while working on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York last year.

“The pandemic accelerated the prevalence of stress, burnout, and depression in our health care workforce, but these issues were present long before COVID-19 and will persist long afterward,” said Kaine. “The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act will help us finally take meaningful, necessary steps to better support our health care providers.”

The HELP Committee also passed a provision based on one from Kaine’s Mothers and Newborns Success Act, reintroduced today with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to promote vaccination of pregnant women and infants, as part of the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act. The Mothers and Newborns Success Act seeks to decrease maternal and infant mortality and reduce the egregious racial inequities in the health of mothers and newborns.

“I’m pleased the HELP Committee is addressing racial disparities in maternal and infant health and appreciate the inclusion of the maternal and child vaccination language based on my bipartisan maternal health bill. I am hopeful the Committee will in the coming months consider the full Mothers and Newborns Success Act, which will lead to better care and more just outcomes for mothers and newborns,” added Kaine. 

You can find video of Kaine speaking about the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act at today’s HELP Committee meeting here.

The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, as reported out by the HELP Committee today, will: 

  • Establish grants for training health care professionals or trainees in strategies to address mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Require identification and dissemination of best practices for preventing suicide and improving mental health and resiliency among health care professionals.
  • Establish a national education and awareness initiative to encourage health care professionals to seek support and care for mental health and substance use concerns.
  • Establish grants to health care entities (e.g., hospitals, community health centers, and rural health clinics) for health care provider education, the establishment of programs to prevent suicide and improve mental health among health care professionals, peer-support programming, and mental health treatment. Health care providers in health professional shortage areas or rural areas will be prioritized.
  • Require a review related to improving health care professional mental health and resiliency, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals’ health and the barriers professionals face when seeking and accessing mental health care.

Some provisions modeled after the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act were included in the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law in March. This committee-passed bill would fully authorize the legislation, including programs that weren’t part of the American Rescue Plan. 

These bills now head to the floor, where they will await consideration by the full Senate.

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