UPDATE Stettler County council to craft a fair physician recruitment funding policy

UPDATE Council debates method used to attract physicians to Stettler

By Emily Jaycox For the Independent

UPDATE

A statement from the County of Stettler on this story:

“Representatives from County of Stettler are looking forward to working alongside the Town of Stettler and the Doctor Recruitment committee to together, craft a policy that works for all parties, including our current (resident) Physicians, and streamlines the recruitment procedure for the continued benefit of our entire region.’

“Also, the general feeling among council is one of gratefulness at our excellent relationships with both with our fellow Town Councillors and the Doctor Recruitment committee, and our satisfaction with the doctor recruitment program, its process and success which has existed since its inception in 2006.

“Further – we all look forward to recognizing and thanking our current Physicians as we salute and honor Doctor Appreciation next week.”

ORIGINAL STORY

Stettler County Council voted to withdraw $22,500 for the Physician Recruitment and Retention Committee (PRRC) during its regular meeting March 13, but to give no further funds until a policy is implemented.

The amount is an incentive payment for Stettler’s newest doctor.

Currently, the PRRC can allocate incentives at its discretion, as council realized recently that no real policy is in place regarding criteria or procedures for awarding incentives.

The county would like to craft a policy to ensure that future incentive payments are fairly distributed.

Coun. Dave Grover made the motion, stating “Doctors won’t be making decisions [regarding funds],” and that future payments “all go through the system like it should.”

The money for the incentives comes from the Doctor Recruitment Reserve, which the council contributes to annually.

“Hopefully we won’t have this problem ever again,” said Grover.

Coun. James Nibourg expressed concern about AHS’s current doctor allotment for Stettler, saying Stettler could use two or three more doctors.

Nibourg says today’s doctors have a different lifestyle and mindset, with young families and they don’t work the same hours or clinic hours.

“We need a 2020 recruitment policy, not a 1985 policy.”

Coun. Wayne Nixon says the recruitment incentive policy makes Stettler look bad to other communities as it essentially poaches their doctors and called it “double dipping.”

“This is the time to talk about it,” said Nibourg.

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