Congress' spending and COVID relief bill included a $3M cut to programs for healthcare workers' mental illnesses

Congress' spending and COVID relief bill included a $3M cut to programs for healthcare workers' mental illnesses
Meaghan Ellis
California officials fear upcoming holidays could break their overwhelmed healthcare system

The latest government spending and coronavirus relief bill included a $3 million cut for programs to aid the United States' most critical workers amid the pandemic, according to The Daily Beast.

According to the Beast, Congress managed to cancel out $3 million worth of funding for The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. The bill, introduced earlier this year, was named after Dr. Breen who tragically took her own life.

Back in September, the president of the American Medical Association wrote:

"The bill is titled The Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, named after Lorna Breen, a tragic example of the pandemic's toll on such workers. A longtime New York City emergency room doctor, Breen died by suicide in April as the virus surged in the city and overwhelmed doctors and nurses treating the sick and dying. As the pandemic has dragged on nationally, it has 'brought physician wellness to a crisis point.'"

At the time, the bill seemed to be a necessity given the level of stress healthcare workers have been under amid the pandemic. In fact, Corey Feist, Breen's brother-in-law who also founded the Dr. Breen Heroes Foundation, revealed the bill initially received monumental support and appeared to be moving in the "right direction." However, advocates of the bill were shocked to see that it had been removed from the stimulus relief package.

"Everyone is supportive," said Feist. "It tells me we're onto something, we're headed in the right direction."

One Democratic staffer expressed how disheartening Congress' deduction was.

"We pushed hard for inclusion of the bill. It was on the table until late in the process," the unnamed Democratic staffer said. "We were initially hopeful it would be included and were disappointed to find it didn't make it into the final package."

As of Thursday, Dec. 24, healthcare workers across the country continue to battle a surge of COVID-19 cases. The country has reported more than 18 million coronavirus cases as the death toll continues to rise.

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