Both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed a bill to “improve the mental and behavioral health among health care providers” that President Biden signed on Friday. As an emergency medicine physician who worked through the darkest days of the Delta and Omicron surges, I can personally attest to the need to prioritize the mental health of medical professionals and fight burnout. But this bill is fundamentally flawed in its approach and is unlikely to achieve its desired effects.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is named after Lorna Breen, a New York City emergency medicine physician who died by suicide in April 2020, as Covid-19 raged across the city and the country. By all accounts a tireless worker, she was ultimately overwhelmed by what she experienced during those dark early days of the pandemic.