White House allocates $103 million to tackle healthcare worker burnout

key takeaways

  • The Biden-Harris administration allocated $103 million in U.S. relief funds to address healthcare worker burnout and promote mental health.
  • This funding will support many projects.
  • Experts say that while funding is a good start to tackling health care worker burnout and mental health, these programs need to be effectively implemented and organised, and require structural change.

The pandemic has had a severe impact on healthcare and front-line workers. Doctors, nurses and other essential health workers have been working around the clock to meet the demand for rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, with 55% reporting burnout last year and 62% reporting mental health impacts.

To address burnout and mental health issues, as well as retention of health care workers, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $103 million in funding for programs that address the issue.

Study: Female healthcare workers are experiencing high rates of COVID-19 burnout

The money will be distributed by the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to 45 recipients through three programs:

  • Promoting Resilience and Mental Health in Health Professions Workforce Programs
  • Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program
  • Health and Public Safety Workforce Resilience Technical Assistance Center

If left unaddressed, physician burnout can lead to increased medical errors, increased risk of malpractice, and decreased patient satisfaction.

What’s more, “addressing burnout is important to patient care; physician burnout is associated with a reduction in the healthcare system’s efficiency in delivering high-quality, safe care to patients,” an HHS spokesperson told VigorTip.

What will the Monetary Fund do?

These funds will help healthcare organizations establish, improve and expand evidence-based programs and practices to promote mental health and the well-being of healthcare workers.

The Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program will provide evidence-based training development and education for healthcare workers. The course will address burnout and burnout resilience and will be available to healthcare students, residents in training, healthcare professionals, firefighters, law enforcement and paramedics. The program will receive a total of $68.2 million and will be distributed among 34 grantees.

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HRSA will also award $6 million to George Washington University for tailored training and technical assistance to award recipients.

“Recipients will employ a variety of evidence-based approaches to promote resilience, mental health and well-being,” an HHS spokesperson said.

The HHS spokesperson added that these approaches will include:

  • Hire and deploy resiliency trainers
  • Implement a “first aid”-like program aimed at reducing stress
  • Work with health systems to create a culture of health that prioritizes the well-being of healthcare workers
  • Develop tools that can improve employees’ ability to manage work stressors
  • Improve workflow design and other processes that create frustration and stress

The plan will also include the creation of a technical assistance center to support grantees in implementing and sharing their work with the wider healthcare community, they added.

what does this mean to you

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health and are not sure where to get help, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). It’s confidential, free, and runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is available in English and Spanish. If you call this helpline, they can refer you to local treatment centres, support groups and other organisations.

Are these programs enough?

Rachel Needle of PsyD, a licensed psychologist in West Palm Beach, Fla., said that while these efforts are a good start in promoting mental health among health care workers, more is needed to create long-term change.

“We can allocate funds to an important issue, but not organize and implement it effectively,” Needle told VigorTip. “Having a team of mental health professionals [involved] Someone experienced in project development and implementation and knowledgeable about burnout will be an important starting point. ”

She added that companies can assess workloads and make them more manageable by hiring more workers to meet demand that cannot be met by current staffing. Companies can also incorporate support groups into the workweek, have mental health professionals on-site, provide education to improve resilience, and help people learn about the signs of burnout and the tools they can use to reduce it, Needle explained.

Aisha R. Shabazz, MSS, MLSP, LCSW, a therapist who serves patients in New Jersey, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, along with support groups, said there needs to be a cap on the maximum number of consecutive hours that can be worked. “if [the number of patients is high]you should have more time off and not be asked to work overtime,” Shabazz told VigorTip.

4 ways doctors can heal from a year of burnout

Some of the main culprits of healthcare worker burnout include high numbers of COVID-19 patients and witnessing patients die from the virus. Needle stressed that seeing people still not taking COVID-19 seriously, but watching its toll every day, undercuts the sense of worth and hope for healthcare workers. Controlling the virus is critical to supporting the mental health of healthcare workers.

“We recognize the dedication of health care workers throughout the pandemic and are committed to continuing to use our levers and programs to support their future needs,” an HHS spokesperson said.