New financial incentives and resources are available to eligible frontline Interior Health Grand Forks staff who work at Boundary District Hospital, Hardy View Lodge long-term care home and in community settings such as home support and mental health substance use services.

New financial incentives and resources are available to eligible frontline Interior Health Grand Forks staff who work at Boundary District Hospital, Hardy View Lodge long-term care home and in community settings such as home support and mental health substance use services.

New financial incentives launched for health-care staff in Grand Forks

A series of new financial incentives to bring more frontline health care workers to the Grand Forks area, and address ongoing staff shortages in the health care sector, were announced by Interior Health (IH) and the B.C. Ministry of Health this month.

The incentives and resources are available to eligible frontline Interior Health Grand Forks staff who work at Boundary District Hospital, Hardy View Lodge long-term care home and in community settings such as home support and mental health substance use services.

“Grand Forks faces unique challenges to staffing which require community-based solutions and thinking outside the box,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, in a press release Wednesday, Nov. 23. “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.”

New incentives include:

• Up to $2,000 in a quarterly retention bonus for eligible existing staff depending on how much they work (maximum amount for full-time). This is an expansion of the existing Provincial Rural Retention Incentive (PRRI) program currently being prototyped by communities in Northern Health.

• 1.5 times normal wage for staff who travel more than 40 kilometres from other IH worksites to support services in Grand Forks.

• Up to a $1,500 bonus for Interior Health staff referring other health-care workers to Grand Forks who sign on to eligible positions.

• Extension of Northern Health’s Travel Resource Program (TRP) to include Grand Forks which will provide access to a pool of nurses to support the community. TRP nurses can begin to request and schedule shifts in Grand Forks beginning December 1.

“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. These incentives recognize the increased risk patients and families face given the distances they have to travel to access other hospitals and services,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “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.”

Limited staffing resulted in the temporary closure of inpatient beds at Boundary Hospital in March. To date, emergency department services have gone above and beyond to avoid more significant closures, 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, vice president of clinical operations, IH South.

Incentives are currently available for the following positions:

• 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)

Incentives will come into effect immediately and Interior Health will be sharing additional details with staff and unions to ensure eligible individuals are aware and can access them appropriately.