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Congressman Krishnamoorthi Leads Bipartisan Letter Calling for Enhanced Resources To Support Health Care Workers’ Mental Health in Next Coronavirus Aid Package

May 6, 2020
Press Release

SCHAUMBURG, IL – Yesterday, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi led 90 of his colleagues in Congress in sending a bipartisan letter to House leadership calling for the inclusion of enhanced mental health resources for healthcare workers in the next coronavirus aid package. The letter requested that an HHS grant program be established to allow healthcare employers and facilities to confidentially assess and treat the mental health of frontline workers in addition to ordering a comprehensive study on healthcare workers’ mental health. The study would focus on identifying the factors that contribute to distress and burnout, the barriers to accessing treatment, the ramifications for patient outcomes and the healthcare system, and ways to address these problems.

“As the husband of a physician, I know the burden borne by frontline healthcare workers as they risk their health fighting this pandemic and confronting its human cost on a daily basis,” said Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi. “We have heard countless tragic stories about the toll it is taking on their mental wellbeing but to date, our government has not done nearly enough to help these heroes. I’m proud to lead my colleagues in this effort to ensure we provide vital support for the mental health of those who are enduring so much during this crisis to take care of all of us.”

“The COVID-19 outbreak has presented numerous challenges for our essential healthcare workers,” said Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “It is imperative that we provide adequate resources and funding in any forthcoming legislative packages to support mental health for healthcare workers and help our communities address this crisis on all fronts. The provisions and funding outlined in this letter will ensure struggling workers have access to the resources they need. I will continue to advocate for initiatives to help our North Country communities respond to and recover from this crisis.”

“The health care workers who are putting their lives on the line every day are true heroes. We need to make sure they can get whatever resources they need right now, including access to mental health care,” said Congressman David Cicilline. “I’m pleased to join Congressman Krishnamoorthi and our colleagues in fighting to make sure that all health care workers can get mental health treatment if and when they need it.”

“Our healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of this crisis since day one, and they need all the support we can provide as they cope with the day to day struggles of a stressful work environment,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “We must continue to make sure that they have the needed mental health resources available when they need it most.” 

“While physicians are trained to place the needs of their patients at the forefront of their work, it is vitally important that physicians also tend to all aspects of their health,” said President Patrice A. Harris, M.D. of the American Medical Association (AMA). “Physicians are experiencing a unique level of stress and potential emotional trauma because of the pandemic, a development that deserves closer analysis. The AMA commends Rep. Krishnamoorthi and the other bipartisan letter cosigners for exploring how the long-term impact of treating COVID-19 patients will affect physicians’ mental health, as well as their commitment to harnessing federal resources to study issues associated with stress and burnout.”

“Surgeons, physicians, and healthcare providers are facing unprecedented and overwhelming mental health and well-being challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because COVID-19 is a novel virus, the absence of evidence-based protocols, treatments, vaccines, and best practices affects health care personnel at virtually all levels,” said David Hoyt, MD, FACS, Executive Director of the American College of Surgeon. “The resulting emotional burnout and physical exhaustion can lead to mental health concerns and suicide ideation. The American College of Surgeons strongly supports inclusion of mental health resources for frontline health care workers in the next relief package.”

“ACEP deeply appreciates Rep. Krishnamoorthi’s leadership in ensuring that emergency physicians and other frontline health care providers have access to the mental health resources they need as they serve on the frontlines of the greatest public health crisis of our lifetime,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, President of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). “I, along with other emergency physicians across the country, have watched our colleagues rise to the challenge with selflessness and compassion despite the personal risks of providing care and the toll of loneliness as we isolate ourselves from our families—but we should not suffer silently.”

The letter, which can be read here, was signed by over 90 members of Congress:

Cindy Axne, Joyce Beatty, Lisa Blunt Rochester, Brendan F. Boyle, Anthony G. Brown, Tony Cárdenas, André Carson, Judy Chu, David N. Cicilline, Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr., Yvette D. Clarke, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Steve Cohen, J. Luis Correa, Angie Craig, Sharice L. Davids, Danny K. Davis, Madeleine Dean, Peter A. DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Debbie Dingell, Anna G. Eshoo, Abby Finkenauer, Brian Fitzpatrick, Bill Foster, Marcia L. Fudge, Tulsi Gabbard, Ruben Gallego, Jesús G. "Chuy" García, Raúl M. Grijalva, Josh Harder, Andy Harris, M.D., Alcee L. Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Brian Higgins, Kendra S. Horn, Chrissy Houlahan, Sheila Jackson Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr., Marcy Kaptur, John Katko, Joseph P. Kennedy, III, Derek Kilmer, Andy Kim, John B. Larson, Susie Lee, Barbara Lee, Dave Loebsack, Alan Lowenthal, Stephen F. Lynch, Sean Patrick Maloney, Lucy McBath, James P. McGovern, Gregory W. Meeks, Joseph D. Morelle, Gregory F. Murphy, M.D., Grace F. Napolitano, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Tom O'Halleran, Chris Pappas, Donald M. Payne, Jr., Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Katie Porter, Ayanna Pressley, Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen, Jamie Raskin, Harley Rouda, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Tim Ryan, Linda T. Sánchez, Mary Gay Scanlon, Bradley S. Schneider, Donna E. Shalala, Albio Sires, Darren Soto, Jackie Speier, Elise M. Stefanik, Thomas R. Suozzi, Rashida Tlaib, Paul D. Tonko, David Trone, Jeff Van Drew, Nydia M. Velázquez, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Peter Welch, Jennifer Wexton, Susan Wild, and Frederica S. Wilson.

It also has the support of over 50 organizations representing healthcare workers across a range of specialties:

AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

American Academy of Dermatology Association

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

American Academy of Neurology

American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

American College of Cardiology

American College of Emergency Physicians

American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians

American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians

American College of Osteopathic Internists

American College of Osteopathic Surgeons

American College of Physicians

American College of Radiology

American College of Surgeons

American Geriatrics Society

American Medical Association

American Medical Group Association

American Organization for Nursing Leadership

American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

American Osteopathic Association

American Psychiatric Association

American Psychological Association

American Society for Clinical Pathology

American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery

American Society for Radiation Oncology

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

American Society of Addiction Medicine

American Society of Anesthesiologists

American Society of Echocardiography

American Society of Plastic Surgeons

American Urological Association

Association for Clinical Oncology

College of American Pathologists

Emergency Nurses Association

Federation of State Medical Boards

Heart Rhythm Society

HIV Medicine Association

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Renal Physicians Association

Society of Critical Care Medicine

Society of Hospital Medicine

Society of Interventional Radiology

Society of Thoracic Surgeons

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