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 introduction of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, 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 and burnout was a public health crisis long before COVID-19, but physicians are experiencing new and mounting challenges because COVID-19 has added a new dimension to the frontlines of care—treating an unpredictable and deadly virus, navigating the multi-faceted stress of keeping their practices afloat and preventing personal health risks while caring for others.
“Now, we are seeing the pandemic exacerbating this issue, which is leading to higher rates of burnout, retirement and worsening physician shortages. Our 2020 Survey of America’s Physicians: COVID-19’s Impact on Physician Wellbeing found 58% of physicians often have feelings of burnout, compared to 40% in 2018, although only 13% of physicians sought medical attention for a mental health problem caused by COVID-19’s effects on their practice or employment situation. Further, nearly 1 in 4 physicians (22%) know a physician who committed suicide.
“Physicians, and their clinical care colleagues, must be supported through suicide and burnout prevention education and training programs during COVID-19 and beyond, especially as physician burnout and suicide has been afflicting our profession for decades. 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.”
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.