WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema cosponsored the bipartisan Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act—legislation to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Arizona health care workers serving on the frontlines of the pandemic need support and mental health resources as they navigate the dangers, uncertainty, and tragedies of COVID-19,” said Sinema.
The Sinema-backed Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is named after Dr. Lorna Breen, a New York City emergency room doctor who lost her life to suicide during the April surge of coronavirus cases in New York.
Health care professionals routinely experience high levels of stress and burnout. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 45 to 55 percent of health care professionals suffered from burnout. Physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession in the U.S., with a rate of between 28 to 40 suicides per 100,000 doctors in 2018, nearly double the rate of the general population.
Specifically, the Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act:
- Establishes grants for training health care students, residents, and professionals in evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions and substance use disorders, and improve health care professionals’ well-being and job satisfaction.
- Seeks to identify and disseminate evidence-based 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.
- Establishes a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign encouraging providers to seek support and treatment for mental and behavioral health concerns.
- Establishes grants for mental and behavioral health programs; health care providers in current or former COVID-19 hotspots will be prioritized.
- Establishes a comprehensive study, with recommendations, on health care professional mental and behavioral health and burnout, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on professionals’ health.
The Sinema-backed Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is supported by the Arizona Medical Association, Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers, Arizona Rural Health Association, Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association.