Bill would reauthorize law named after Dr. Lorna Breen

Several members of Congress have introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to reauthorize the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, a law that provides federal funding to prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare workers.

The law, signed in March 2022, is named for Lorna Breen, MD, a physician who worked in New York City during the pandemic and died by suicide April 26, 2020.

It has already provided $100 million in funding for mental healthcare for providers in the U.S., including $5.6 million for providers at Charlottesville, Va.-based UVA Health, Richmond-based Virginia Commonwealth University, and Fairfax, Va.-based George Mason University, according to a Jan. 30 news release from lawmakers. However, provisions of the law related to funding are set to expire at the end of 2024. 

The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act — introduced by U.S. Sens. Tim Kaine and Todd Young and U.S. Reps. Jen Kiggans, Susan Wild, Buddy Carter, and Debbie Dingell — would reauthorize grant programs through 2029.

According to the release, the move would reauthorize a grant program for employee education; reauthorize a grant program for training healthcare workers and students in strategies to prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use disorders; and reauthorize a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign

The reauthorization is supported by the American Hospital Association.

AHA Executive Vice President Stacey Hughes said in a statement: "Reauthorizing the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is critical in providing our caregivers the support they deserve. Doing so will also help ensure patients and communities continue to have access to high-quality, compassionate and accessible care."

A full list of supporters is available here. The full text of the reauthorization bill is available here.

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