ASCO Supports Health Workforce Well-being Day of Awareness and Reauthorization of Dr. Lorna Breen Act

March 18, 2024

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and other health care organizations are recognizing the proposed Health Workforce Well-Being Day of Awareness and calling on Congress to reauthorize the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act.

In February, Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Roger Marshall (R-KS), members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the bipartisan resolution to designate March 18 as the Health Workforce Well-Being Day of Awareness, which coincides with the date that the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act passed in 2022. ASCO endorsed the resolution.

The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Reauthorization Act (H.R.7153/S.3679) addresses health care professionals’ mental health and well-being. ASCO joined with several health care groups to send a letter supporting reauthorization. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee advanced the bill earlier this month. Lorna Breen, M.D., was a New York emergency room physician who died by suicide in 2020.

Signed into law on March 18, 2022, the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act allocated funds for grants to address physician burnout, suicide prevention, mental health conditions, and substance use disorders. To date, the law has provided $100 million in funding to support physicians and other health care professionals across the country. The historic law will expire on September 30, 2024. 

If passed, the Act would reauthorize the critical resources originally provided in the law through September 30, 2029.  Key provisions of the law reauthorize a grant program for health care organizations and professional associations for employee education on strategies to reduce burnout, peer-support programming, and mental and behavioral health treatment for five years. There is also a focus on communities experiencing health care workforce shortages, rural areas, and burnout due to administrative burdens. Other provisions include programs to train health care workers and students on strategies to prevent burnout and renews a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign.

ASCO is committed to improving the quality, safety, and value of cancer care by enhancing the well-being of oncology clinicians. In 2020, ASCO established the Oncology Clinician Well-Being Task Force. To learn more about ASCO’s efforts to support burnout prevention and promote well-being in oncology, visit this resource page.

Bookmark ASCO in Action for updates as well as news, advocacy, and analysis on cancer policy.