How one state is reducing physician mental health stigma

A coalition of healthcare organizations in Virginia has launched a new initiative that hopes to cut burnout among physicians and encourage more healthcare workers to receive care from mental health professionals, according to a Jan. 23 report from the American Medical Association. 

The initiative, "All In: Caring for Virginia's Caregivers," will recognize hospitals and health systems that remove invasive mental health questions on credentialing applications as "well-being champions." 

The initiative is spearheaded by the Medical Society of Virginia, the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association and the Virginia Nurses Association and builds on previous efforts to improve providers' well-being. 

In 2020, Virginia lawmakers created a program, administered by the Medical Society of Virginia, allowing physicians to seek confidential help 24/7 for career fatigue and mental health issues. 

Over 40 percent of physicians do not seek care for mental health issues because they are concerned about disclosing it to state licensing boards, according to the report. 

The Medical Society of Virginia is leading an effort in the state legislature to pass Virginia House Bill 173 and Senate Bill 970, which would require all health systems to officially remove invasive mental health questions from licensing and credentialing applications. 

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