January 24, 2022

Wyden, Merkley: $4.5 Million to Oregon Health Care Providers for Relief for Health Care Workers

Northeast Oregon Network and Legacy Health to benefit

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today that Oregon health care providers in Portland and Northeast Oregon will receive a combined total of $4.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to improve retention and reduce burnout during a critical staffing shortage.

“Oregon health care workers all over the state have shared heartbreaking and harrowing accounts of long hours and few breaks while Oregonians fill their hospitals,” Wyden said. “Caring for health care workers and preventing burnout is critical to weather this public health crisis. I’m glad to see these funds going toward proven resources to help these courageous caregivers continue in careers they love and that keep Oregonians safe and healthy.”

“Community health workers have been on the front lines, since day one, fighting against COVID-19—fighting to keep Oregonians across the state safe and healthy,” Merkley said. “These funds will create and support programs our health care providers can use to protect their mental health and wellbeing and reduce burnout in the workforce. Our community health care workers have made tremendous sacrifices and shouldered an incredible burden throughout the pandemic. We need to make sure they stay healthy while they’re taking care of our health.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded $103 million in awards to improve the retention of health care workers by reducing burnout and promoting mental health and wellness among the health care workforce.

COVID-19 has compounded rates of depression and anxiety among health care workers. The relentless physical and emotional demands of treating patients during a pandemic have exacerbated longstanding barriers to workplace well-being. While the challenge is complex, these multi-year awards will support the creation of partnerships and utilization of local resources to directly support health professionals’ response to workplace stressors, and provide training to help individuals manage the constantly changing, high-stress environment of health care. Oregon grantees include:

“Northeast Oregon Network is excited to expand our training offerings to Traditional Health Workers, certified mental health and substance use providers, and their supervisors across Oregon. Our goal is to reduce burnout and build resiliency in this vital workforce, especially during this challenging time in the healthcare landscape,” said Liberty Avila, Executive Director of the Northeast Oregon Network.

“Now more than ever, it is important to support the mental and physical health of our staff to build resilience and alleviate moral distress among our workforce. We are honored to be one of only ten organizations nationally to receive this grant award,” said Kathryn Correia, president and chief executive officer, Legacy Health. “We are grateful to Senators Wyden and Merkley for their leadership and their recognition of our compassionate, dedicated staff, who continue to work tirelessly to care for our communities through this pandemic.”