Interior Health launches financial incentives for health care staff in Grand Forks, B.C.

Boundary Hospital in Grand Forks, B.C. Google Maps

New financial incentives are available, says Interior Health, for healthcare workers in Grand Forks, B.C.

According to the regional health authority, the small community of 4,100 is suffering from critical staffing shortages.

To alleviate that, IHA is offering quarterly bonuses, a higher wage for staff who travel more than 40 km to work in Grand Forks and a $1,500 bonus for attracting a new staff member to the community.

“Grand Forks faces unique challenges to staffing which require community-based solutions and thinking outside the box,” said Adrian Dix, B.C.’s health minister.

“These incentives are an important step towards bringing best practices from around the province to Grand Forks and stabilizing local health services people in the area expect and deserve.”

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According to Interior Health, the new incentives for eligible employees include:

  • Up to $2,000 in a quarterly retention bonus
  • 1.5 times normal wage for staff who travel more than 40 km
  • A bonus (up to $1,500) for referring healthcare workers to Grand Forks
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The financial incentives are available to a variety of healthcare positions.

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  • Registered nurse
  • Registered psychiatric nurse
  • Licensed practical nurse
  • Health-care assistant
  • Community health worker
  • Medical laboratory technologist
  • Medical laboratory assistant
  • Radiology technologist
  • Social worker
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Sonographer
  • Dietician
  • Frontline clinical managers (referral bonus and PRRI only)
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“I know that I — and our whole community — are enormously grateful for the dedication of our nurses, doctors and other health care professionals in delivering such high-quality care in our rural communities,” said local MLA Roly Russell.

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“These incentives recognize the increased risk patients and families face given the distances they have to travel to access other hospitals and services.

“These immediate steps, coupled with the 70 actions in the health human resources strategy, will help support and stabilize health-care services in the Boundary.”

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Interior Health says limited staffing resulted in the temporary closure of inpatient beds at Boundary Hospital in March.

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Since then, though, significant closures have been avoided, but additional staff are also required to stabilize emergency services and reduce the risk of any interruptions.

“These incentives are part of our commitment to local patients and to our current staff and physicians who remained steadfast in their dedication to Grand Forks and Boundary communities during these challenging times,” said Dr. Shallen Letwin of Interior Health.

Interior Health says the incentives are effective immediately, and that it will be sharing details so that staff members and unions can appropriately access the new incentives.

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The Hospital Employees’ Union contacted Global News following Interior Health’s incentives announcement regarding Grand Forks.

“It takes a team to deliver healthcare, and each member of that team is a critical link in the healthcare journey of patients and care-home residents,” said HEU secretary business manager Meena Brisard.

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“That team is under strain in Grand Forks, where staffing shortages compromise access to care and put enormous strain on existing staff.”

Brisard continued, saying “these incentives only apply to some members of the healthcare team, and they devalue the contributions of others who also work every day to provide good care in Grand Forks.

“These types of incentive schemes have a negative impact on staff morale, at a time when we need to support our entire health care team.”

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