Young, Carter offer bill to reauthorize support programs for healthcare workforce

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) on Tuesday offered bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would reauthorize several federal grant programs that support the overall well-being of America’s healthcare professionals.

“As we’ve seen so often over the past several years, our frontline workers put their own health on the line every day to serve our communities in Indiana and across the country,” Sen. Young said. “Congress must act to reauthorize this important program to provide our healthcare workforce with needed support to prevent suicide and promote mental and behavioral health.”

Sen. Young cosponsored the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act, S. 3679, alongside bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), while Rep. Carter on the same day cosponsored the identical H.R. 7153 with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA).

The measure seeks to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among healthcare professionals by reauthorizing each grant program for five years, according to a bill summary provided by the lawmakers.

The bill would reauthorize: a grant program for healthcare organizations and professional associations for employee education on strategies to reduce burnout, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment; a grant program for health profession schools or other institutions to train healthcare workers and students in strategies to prevent suicide, burnout, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders; and a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign that provides hospital and health system leaders with evidence-informed solutions to reduce healthcare worker burnout, the summary says.

“Our healthcare providers are some of the best among us, but too often, their mental health needs are not given adequate resources and support. This must change,” said Rep. Carter. “By reauthorizing the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, we will prioritize healthcare providers’ well-being by ensuring their access to evidence-based mental health and substance use disorder strategies and education.”

The bill is named in honor of Dr. Lorna Breen, a physician from Charlottesville, Va., who worked on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York and died by suicide in 2020.