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Passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act is Critical for addressing the Mental Health Needs of our Nation’s Doctors, Say Internists

WASHINGTON, D.C. February 22, 2022 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) applauds the passage of the bipartisan Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act (H.R. 1667). We look forward to the signing of the bill, which will take important and needed steps to help prevent and reduce incidences of suicide, mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and long-term stress, sometimes referred to as burnout amongst the physician workforce.  Through grants, education, and awareness campaigns the legislation will help reduce stigma and identify resources for health care clinicians seeking assistance. The bill also supports research on health care professional mental and behavioral health, including the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We thank the Senate for advancing this important legislation to address the behavioral health needs of America’s physicians,” said George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA, president, ACP. “The ongoing pandemic has added a tremendous level of strain on medical professionals, many of whom are experiencing personal hardships as they care for distressed patients and manage their own families and their own health.”

Data show that physicians in the United States face higher incidents of suicide than almost any other profession and that a high percentage of physicians experience burnout, depression, or both. Physicians are also often reluctant to seek help for mental health issues because of barriers such as stigma and the professional risks associated with disclosing their treatment activities to the medical board.

ACP has long recognized the burnout and mental health crises that physicians are facing in their profession and the toll on their well being. In response, ACP has created the I.M. Emotional Support Hub which offers curated resources and information to help physicians’ emotional health. These resources include a Well-Being video series, featuring ACP members in brief videos offering practical strategies to cope with daily burdens, both professionally and personally, particularly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the lives of the physician workforce.

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About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.