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Biden admin awards $103M from American Rescue Plan to fight health care worker burnout

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced Thursday that the Biden administration would award $103 million to help respond to critical staffing needs and health care worker burnout. 

Money will go toward promoting mental health and wellness among the workforce – particularly in rural and underserved communities – with evidence-informed programs, practices and training.

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The multi-year awards will support proven strategies for health care providers, academic institutions and other recipients, including the creation of partnerships and utilization of local resources to support health professionals’ response to workplace stressors.

Registered nurse Sara Nystrom, of Townshend, Vt., prepares to enter a patient's room in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, N.H., Jan. 3, 2022. 

Registered nurse Sara Nystrom, of Townshend, Vt., prepares to enter a patient’s room in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, N.H., Jan. 3, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

The funds will be distributed to 45 grantees through three programs, and were secured through the administration’s American Rescue Plan.

The three programs include Promoting Resilience and Mental Health Among Health Professional Workforce, the Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Training Program and a Health and Public Safety Workforce Resiliency Technical Assistance Center.

HRSA is awarding $28.6 million to 10 grantees to assist health care organizations in establishing, expanding or improving programs and practices to promote mental health.

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Thirty-four grantees will receive $68.2 million to support tailored evidence-informed training development within the health profession and nursing training activities.

George Washington University will receive $6 million to provide tailored training and technical assistance to the recipients.

HHS noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has “compounded rates of depression and anxiety among healthcare workers.”

“I have traveled to many health centers across the country and know that the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified issues that have long been a source of stress for frontline health care workers — from increased patient volumes to long working hours,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “This funding reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to ensuring we have enough critical frontline workers by supporting health care providers now and beyond as they face burnout and mental health challenges. We will continue to promote the well-being of those who have made so many sacrifices to keep others well.”

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“Now more than ever, it is critical to support the well-being of our health care workforce, who are working every day to protect each of us,” HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said. “Today’s awards will provide new tools to help support our health professionals’ resilience as they continue to face the stress and challenges of responding to COVID-19 and other health care needs and provide high quality care.”

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