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HHS awards $103M to address burnout in healthcare. See where the money is going.


The administration is offering grants to healthcare organizations to develop or expand mental health programs.

The federal government is directing millions to address burnout and mental health in the healthcare industry.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced this week it has awarded $103 million to help healthcare organizations reduce burnout and retain workers.

Healthcare leaders have cited burnout as one of their key concerns through the COVID-19 pandemic. Some healthcare workers have left the profession due to overwhelming stress.

A Morning Consult study found roughly 1 in 5 healthcare workers have left the field during the pandemic. Nurses have said they are exhausted and need more support. Healthcare leaders have taken out full-page newspaper advertisements imploring people to get vaccinated because their workers are overwhelmed.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is distributing the money to 45 recipients. The agency said the Health Resources and Services Administration will direct the funds for research programs and training programs.

Some of the funds have been targeted toward underserved and rural communities, the agency said.

The bulk of the money went to two areas.

Resiliency training: The department is awarding $68.2 million to support “evidence-informed training development within health profession and nursing training activities.” The agency said it will aim to reduce burnout among healthcare professionals, residents, students and public safety officers, including firefighters, law enforcement, and ambulance crew members.  There are 34 recipients of training grants.

Mental health: HRSA is distributing $28.6 million to help healthcare organizations establish or expand programs to promote mental health of healthcare workers. There are 10 recipients of grants for mental health programs.

In addition, George Washington University also received $6 million to offer training and assistance to grant recipients.

The grants will be distributed over three years.

Some recipients of training grants include the University of Alabama at Birmingham (nearly $2.3 million), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles ($2.1 million), the University of Nebraska ($2.2 million) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (nearly $2.3 million).

Recipients of the mental health grants include The Johns Hopkins University ($2.7 million); the University of Utah ($2.9 million), and La Casa De Salud, a clinic in Brooklyn ($2.9 million).

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra acknowledged the stress healthcare workers are experiencing.

“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,” 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," he said. "We will continue to promote the well-being of those who have made so many sacrifices to keep others well.”

Here’s the full list of grant recipients.

Related story: A recent study in Health Affairs examines bias in electronic health records, and the authors suggest that addressing burnout in healthcare is a necessary step to improving behavior.

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