Bi-partisan Legislation Would Support Physicians’ Mental and Behavioral Health

Gary Price, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, today issued this statement:

“The Physicians Foundation applauds the passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act in the United States Senate, which would provide much needed support to help prevent physician suicide and burnout, as well as improve resources to reduce the barriers that currently hinder physicians and other health care professionals to seek mental health support.

“Physician suicide has been a public health crisis long before the COVID-19 pandemic. While suicide may be the ultimate consequence of rampant, unchecked burnout, there are many mental health challenges that physicians experience. It is in the public’s interest to help maintain physician wellbeing and lower levels of physician burnout because healthy, engaged physicians generally provide better care than unhealthy, disengaged physicians.

“The pandemic itself has shone a light on a problem that physicians have always faced: the stigma surrounding accessing mental health support and services for fear of looking weak or believing they will lose their license and credentials. Our 2021 Survey of America’s Physicians, COVID-19 Impact Edition: A Year Later found that nearly one-fifth of physicians indicated they know of someone who considered, attempted or died by suicide since the start of the pandemic alone, a time when many physicians have suffered trauma and loss.

“We need to shift the paradigm from a system where it is taboo to be open about managing burnout, depression or suicidal thoughts to one where we have a plan in place to embrace and access mental health care options without consequence. We are grateful this legislation would help provide these resources at a critical moment for the people putting their lives at risk each day to care for their patients and colleagues.”

About The Physicians Foundation

The Physicians Foundation is a nonprofit seeking to advance the work of practicing physicians and help them facilitate the delivery of high-quality health care to patients. As the health care system in America continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation is steadfast in its determination to strengthen the physician-patient relationship and assist physicians in sustaining their medical practices in today’s practice environment. It pursues its mission through a variety of activities including grant-making, research, white papers and policy studies. Since 2005, the Foundation has awarded numerous multi-year grants totaling more than $50 million. In addition, the Foundation focuses on the following core areas: physician leadership, physician wellness, physician practice trends, social determinants of health and the impact of health care reform on physicians and patients. For more information, visit www.physiciansfoundation.org.