President Signs ENA-Supported Dr. Lorna Breen Act into Law
March 18, 2022 • Advocacy Emergency Nurses Association Healthy Work Environment Legislation
Signing signals major advocacy victory in support of health care workers’ health and well-being
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (March 18, 2022) – The Emergency Nurses Association on Friday applauded President Joe Biden’s signing of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act as it marks a major step in helping emergency nurses and other health care workers with their mental health and well-being.
ENA strongly supported the bill as it recognized how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all health care workers in recent years. Now signed into law, the Dr. Lorna Breen Act sets into motion the earmarking of much-needed funding to help nurses, physicians and other health care workers overwhelmed by caring for patients through two years of the pandemic’s relentlessness.
The bill’s provisions include, among other things: establishing grants for training health care professionals on ways to reduce and prevent suicide, burnout, substance abuse and other mental health conditions; grant funding for employee education, peer support programming and behavioral health treatment; and creation of a national education and awareness campaign focused on encouraging health care workers to seek support and treatment.
“This is a major legislative victory for ENA and a major milestone for all health care workers, particularly emergency nurses who have endured so much over the last two years,” said ENA President Jennifer Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC. “As importantly, this bill’s signing signals to everyone that it is OK to speak up, it is OK to seek help, it is OK to prioritize your self-care instead of suffering in silence. Lives will be saved because of the help this new law provides to health care workers.”
ENA praised the efforts of Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., for introducing the bill in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively. The House passed the bill in December, with Senate passage occurring last month. During ENA’s virtual advocacy event in May 2021, Kaine spoke emotionally to ENA members about sponsoring this important legislation as a way to help health care workers at a time they need it most.