NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Envision Healthcare, a leading national medical group, is raising awareness about clinician well-being, working to eliminate the stigma of mental healthcare and advocating for solutions to better care for the clinicians who care for America. As part of its efforts, Envision is continuing its collaboration with the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation and engaging legislators in Washington, D.C., the week of Sept. 18 on meaningful ways to support clinician wellness and, ultimately, the health of the nation.
“The ask was clear: we want legislators to understand the multiple challenges clinicians face and create resources that support their well-being, remove barriers to seeking mental healthcare and make it easier for clinicians to provide high-quality patient care,” said Patrick Velliky, Vice President of Government Affairs at Envision Healthcare. “First and foremost, Congress needs to fully fund the $45 million previously authorized for wellness funding through the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act and reauthorize the law.”
Envision clinicians’ legislative call to action is tied to National Physician Suicide Awareness Day on Sept. 17. According to Medscape’s 2023 Physician Suicide Report, 24 percent of clinicians reported severe clinical depression, 1 percent of physicians had attempted suicide and 9 percent had suicidal thoughts. In addition, a study examining 10 years of data estimated that 300-400 physicians die by suicide each year.
“Clinicians are the pillar of our nation’s healthcare system, dedicating their lives to healing us and making the world a healthier place,” said Stefanie Simmons, MD, FACEP, Vice President of Patient and Clinician Experience at Envision Healthcare and Chief Medical Officer of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation. “For far too long, we have been expected to heal our communities while functioning in a diseased healthcare system. Now, we must mend our fragile healthcare ecosystem and develop operational systems that address the evolving needs of clinicians.”
Envision has worked with the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation for years to prevent burnout and suicide among clinicians nationwide. That includes advocating for the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, which was passed in March 2022 and established grants for research and programs to support healthcare professionals’ well-being. Both the legislation and the Foundation honor emergency physician Dr. Lorna Breen who died by suicide after caring for patients during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Clinicians face unique and enormous stressors that lead to burnout and depression, and enacting the bipartisan legislation was a monumental first step in protecting them,” said J. Corey Feist, JD, MBA, Co-Founder of the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation. “Envision’s partnership with the Foundation and their own internal programs have combined to advance clinician well-being, and we appreciate their relentless work and collaboration. However, as a nation, we must take actionable steps to research innovative support programs and operational improvements to positively impact clinician well-being.”
Recently, Envision and the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation have been working to update states’ medical licensing applications. Traditionally, clinicians have been required to answer invasive and stigmatizing questions about their mental health, which have no bearing on their ability to care for patients. These outdated licensure requirements cause clinicians to forgo appropriate mental healthcare for fear of losing their ability to practice. The goal is to eliminate overly invasive and stigmatizing questions that have been identified as a primary barrier to clinician access to mental healthcare. Because of these efforts and the work of other individuals and healthcare organizations, as of today, 25 states no longer require physicians to answer questions about mental health when applying for a license.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Envision had been working to mitigate clinician burnout and improve the practice environment so clinicians could focus on patients and thrive professionally and personally. Envision’s comprehensive support structure and wellness program has evolved throughout the years to address challenges like increasing nationwide clinician shortages, the stressors of the pandemic, rising healthcare system and societal demands and more. The team outlined the factors contributing to burnout and important solutions in its 2021 professional well-being white paper. In addition to providing clinicians with a variety of resources, the core tenants of Envision’s systems-based approach to well-being include access to free mental health services, peer-to-peer counseling, crisis debriefs and leadership training and counseling.
About Envision Healthcare Corporation
Envision Healthcare Corporation is a leading national medical group that delivers physician and advanced practice provider services, primarily in the areas of emergency and hospitalist medicine, anesthesiology, radiology/teleradiology and neonatology. As a leader in ambulatory surgical care, AMSURG holds ownership in more than 250 surgery centers with medical specialties ranging from gastroenterology to ophthalmology and orthopedics. In total, the medical group offers a differentiated suite of clinical solutions on a national scale with a local understanding of our communities, creating value for health systems, payers, providers and patients. For additional information, visit www.envisionhealth.com.