The following is a joint statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Osteopathic Association, and American Psychiatric Association:
On behalf of the nearly 600,000 physicians and medical students that our organizations represent, we commend the passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (H.R. 1667), which will address the mental health needs of our nation’s doctors by investing in programs to protect their mental health and end the stigma medical professionals often face when seeking necessary treatment and support.
Our organizations strongly support legislation that invests in behavioral health care for physicians. The Lorna Breen Act is a milestone policy that, through vital grants to health care entities and long overdue investments in mental health resources, will help prevent incidences of suicide, substance use disorders, and other mental health conditions among physicians. In addition, the legislation aims to address medical professional ‘burnout’, an issue that has become even more prevalent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
We’re also pleased that this bipartisan, bicameral legislation supports research on health care professionals’ mental and behavioral health, including how best to heal from the pandemic’s detrimental impact on the health care community. Amid a public health emergency, this is more important than ever.
Research shows that physicians in the U.S. face higher incidence of suicide than almost any other profession, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated personal hardships as physicians continue caring for patients, themselves and their families. The passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is timely and critical to ensuring our nation’s ability to respond to the mental health needs of physicians and other health care professionals.
We thank Congress for their leadership in developing this important legislation and look forward to President Biden signing it into law.