Lancaster Physician Summer 2021 - 27

SUMMER 2021
State House:
Healthcare Heroes Act
House Bill 1420
(Rep. Wendi Thomas)
The Healthcare Heroes Act (HB 1420)
establishes a public awareness campaign to provide
information regarding the programs and
services available for first responders, healthcare
workers, and other workers suffering from
mental health issues related to COVID-19.
More specifically, this legislation directs the
Secretary of the Department of Public Welfare
to establish a public awareness campaign and
outreach efforts to provide information to the
general public concerning the programs and
services available for first responders, healthcare
workers, other frontline workers, and their families
experiencing mental health issues related
to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, but
not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder,
anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder.
This legislation directs the Secretary to provide
information to the public on the programs
provided by the department and other federal,
state, and local social services and mental health
agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It even goes so far as to direct how and the
manner in which the Secretary must make
this information available by listing multiple
forms of radio and print media to reach the
broadest possible audiences.
We anticipate the House to quickly pass
this legislation and send it over to the Senate
in the near future.
Please urge your state Representative to vote
yes and help advance this key legislation that
seeks to assist those that have given the most
during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Federal:
Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider
Protection Act - S.610/H.R.1667
(Sen. Tim Kaine; Rep. Susan Wild)
The Dr. Lorna Breen Act is a key piece of
legislation at the federal level aimed at protecting
the mental well-being of healthcare
professionals. Dr. Lorna Breen served as the
emergency room director at the New York-Presbyterian
Hospital and dedicated her life to the
care of her patients. During the COVID-19
pandemic, Dr. Breen was at ground zero of
the crisis and along with fellow healthcare
workers across the country, she was both victim
and witness to the stresses of the pandemic.
Overwhelmed and under constant pressure,
Dr. Breen, unfortunately, took her own life.
The healthcare workers " in the trenches "
of fighting COVID-19 are risking their lives
and the lives of their family members. These
workers are facing not only physical health
risks, but the added emotional brunt of
working through this crisis as they struggle
to provide appropriate care in an increasingly
high-stress, ultra-intensive environment. With
the memory of Dr. Breen comes the need to
meaningfully address the topic of mental health
for physicians. This critical legislation aims to
prevent suicide and burnout among healthcare
professionals and mitigate their mental and
behavioral health conditions. Additionally,
it contains a provision for a comprehensive
study aimed at understanding the factors that
contribute to mental and behavioral health
issues in healthcare professionals.
A few important provisions
included in this legislation are
as follows:
* Establishes grants for training health profession
students, residents, and healthcare
professionals in evidence-informed strategies
to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout,
mental health conditions, and substance
use disorders. The grants would also help
improve healthcare professionals' well-being
and job satisfaction.
* Seeks to identify and disseminate evidence-informed
best practices for reducing
and preventing suicide and burnout among
healthcare professionals, training healthcare
professionals in appropriate strategies, and
promoting their mental and behavioral health
and job satisfaction.
* Establishes a national evidence-based education
and awareness campaign targeting
healthcare professionals to encourage them
to seek support and treatment for mental
and behavioral health concerns.
* Establishes grants for employee education,
peer-support programming, and mental
and behavioral health treatment; healthcare
providers in current or former COVID-19
hotspots will be prioritized.
* Establishes a comprehensive study on
healthcare professional mental and behavioral
health and burnout, including the impact of
the COVID-19 pandemic on such professionals'
health.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Act was introduced
in the both the U.S. Senate (Sen. Kaine) and
the U.S. House of Representatives (Rep. Wild)
as companion bills. The Senate version of the
bill, S.610, appears to be the vehicle to advance
this legislation forward. S.610 recently was
favorably voted out of the Senate Health,
Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
and will be brought up before the full Senate
by means of a consent decree. If there are no
objections, it will move quickly over to the
U.S. House.
This legislation is supported by more than
70 leading medical societies and mental health
advocacy groups. If passed, it would be the first
legislation of its kind to address the mental
health of this nation's health workforce.
Please support those who have sacrificed
the most and made themselves the most
vulnerable while serving on the front lines of
the pandemic. It is important that your U.S.
Congressman hear your voice of support on
this issue. This bill will likely be before the
U.S. House in the near future, where its fate
will be determined. One other key piece of
information is that the House companion bill
(H.R.1667) was introduced by Pennsylvania
Congresswoman Susan Wild. It would be a nice
gesture for Representative Wild's constituents
to reach out commending her for the time and
attention to this important issue.
Please note: This article is current as of June 9, 2021. As legislation is often on the move, visit www.pamedsoc.org and check PAMED's weekly email,
The Dose, for the latest updates on this and other legislation.
LANCASTER 27
PHYSICIAN
http://www.pamedsoc.org

Lancaster Physician Summer 2021

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