Bi-partisan Legislation Passed Through Congress Now Awaits President Biden’s Signature
Gary Price, MD, president of The Physicians Foundation, today issued this statement:
“The Physicians Foundation celebrates the official passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act in the United States Congress, which will 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.
“Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, physicians had one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, in part due to medical systems lacking support for physicians coping with stress and traumatic events. 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 has continued to show necessity to better support the mental health and wellbeing of our physicians. Our 2021 Survey of America’s Physicians, COVID-19 Impact Edition: A Year Later found that 61% of physicians report often experiencing feelings of burnout, showing a significant increase since 2018, though despite this high incidence of mental health symptoms, only 14% of physicians sought medical attention.
“This is a critical step towards effectively addressing the stigma of mental health in medicine and working to openly manage and discuss burnout, depression or suicidal thoughts in a judgement and consequence-free space. 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 U.S. health care system continues to evolve, The Physicians Foundation is steadfast in strengthening the physician-patient relationship, supporting medical practices’ sustainability and helping physicians navigate the changing health care system. The Physicians Foundation pursues its mission through research, education and innovative grant making that improves physician wellbeing, strengthens physician leadership, addresses social drivers of health and lifts physician perspectives. For more information, visit www.physiciansfoundation.org.