The tragic story of the death last year of Dr. Loran Breen has become the impetus for new legislation in Congress to promote mental and behavioral health among healthcare workers, particularly those who are working on the front lines of the pandemic.
Dr. Breen, who was an emergency physician at New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in New York City, took her own life last year after experiencing the mass death of the first wave of COVID-19 patients and then contracting the virus herself. The story has received significant media coverage, as Dr. Breen's family are using the lessons of her death to promote helping those who are helping others as frontline workers. The family of Dr. Breen has made it their mission to reduce burnout in healthcare professionals and safeguard their mental health.
The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, (S. 610 and HR 1667) seeks to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. The chief patron is US Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia), and the legislation has bipartisan support, as well as the backing of more than 70 industry organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Details of the legislation are linked on the website of the foundation Dr. Breen's family created to promote mental health among frontline health care workers.