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Providence offers retention, hiring bonuses

Mail Tribune/file photo Providence is offering $1,000 retention bonuses to caregivers and $1,000 to $7,500 bonuses if they help recruit other workers.
Hospitals struggling to fill worker vacancies

Providence is giving $1,000 retention bonuses to its caregivers and offering them $1,000 to $7,500 if they help fill vacancies by recruiting other medical workers, the health care network announced this month.

It’s also offering hiring bonuses to new workers.

The multi-state Providence Health & Services organization includes Providence Medford Medical Center, seven other hospitals in Oregon and more than 100 clinics in the state.

“I am so very proud of our 23,000 caregivers in Oregon and the care they have provided our communities. I want to express my deep gratitude for the incredible, devoted service they offer each day,” Lisa Vance, president of operations and strategy for Providence, said when the organization announced the retention bonuses and other incentives.

The nation had a shortage of medical workers before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but the pandemic has worsened the problem.

The highly contagious delta variant of the virus is helping to fuel an unprecedented surge of cases in the Rogue Valley and other parts of the country. Hospitals in Jackson and Josephine counties are overflowing with COVID-19 patients and are canceling all but the most desperately needed surgeries for other patients.

Many exhausted medical workers are leaving the field.

Others have left hospitals to join travel nurse agencies, where they can earn more and choose when and where to work. The travel agencies field a range of medical professionals, including nurses and physical therapists.

Providence employs more than 120,000 caregivers across its seven-state territory in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. The organization said it’s accelerating its recruitment efforts to fill 17,000 job openings.

Providence plans to spend more than $220 million to reward, retain and recruit workers.

“Providence is offering highly competitive sign-on bonuses to job candidates to reinforce the frontlines as quickly as possible, which will help alleviate the stress and burnout many caregivers are experiencing,” the organization said in its announcement this month. “It will also help ensure Providence can continue to meet community needs.”

The COVID-19 virus started spreading widely and triggering safety shutdowns in the U.S. in March 2020.

“Now, as we enter month 21 of our COVID-19 response, it’s even more imperative to continue to care for and bolster those who make our mission possible,” said Dr. Rod Hochman, president and chief executive officer of Providence.

In addition to the bonuses, leaders at Providence facilities are making market-based adjustments to compensation for various positions, with a special focus on lower-paid positions, officials said.

Providence is offering education and career development opportunities, plus free or discounted health insurance premiums for caregivers whose households earn up to $105,000 for a family of four, the organization said.

Asante doesn’t have a broad, sweeping retention incentive program, but most employees do have the opportunity to earn an annual incentive, said Asante spokesperson Lauren Van Sickle.

“For recruitment, each type of open position is reviewed and an associated sign-on or relocation bonus is determined based on the need and hiring strategy,” she said.

Asante’s network includes the Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, Asante Ashland Community Hospital and Asante Three Rivers Medical Center in Grants Pass.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.