OU Health Invests $50 Million in Workforce
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Since merging its hospitals and clinics into a single entity on July 1, OU Health has invested $50 million in its workforce.
“As Oklahoma’s only comprehensive, integrated academic healthcare system, it is important that OU Health invest in our workforce and provide benefits that attract and retain the most talented physicians, nurses and other types of healthcare providers and staff. Our people are our biggest asset. Every day, they come to work committed to serving the patients who seek our care,” said Harold Burkhart, M.D., Acting CEO for OU Health.
Investing in workforce capacity is also critical during the time of COVID-19, which has taken a toll on healthcare providers and prompted many to leave the field. OU Health, like healthcare systems across the nation, faces a significant shortage of nurses. To strengthen the workforce, OU Health has provided retention bonuses, pay increases, and launched several initiatives that focus on well-being.
Investments include the following:
- Retention bonuses for direct-care registered nurses, respiratory therapists, licensed practical nurses, patient service representatives, medical assistants and scrub technicians
- Pay increases for select positions
- Career ladder opportunities for respiratory therapists, imaging technicians and surgical technicians
- $14 minimum rate of pay across the health system
- Increase in paid time off (PTO) accruals over three years to bring OU Health into the 75th percentile of academic medical centers
- 100% short-term disability benefit for all employees
- Creation of a Mental Health Helpline for employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Bonuses of up to $10,000 for OU Health employees who refer candidates hired into eligible positions
- Paid maternity and paternity leave for all new parents up to 12 weeks
- $20,000 lifetime benefit for infertility diagnosis and treatment
- Childcare enhancements, including 24/7 emergency back-up childcare and virtual tutoring
- Workforce of the Future program in which eligible employees can work some or all of the time from home
- OU Health Travel at Home, giving current nurses the option of receiving a higher hourly rate in lieu of a benefits package
- OU Health Weekend Program, which pays nurses for 72 hours when they commit to working four 12-hour weekend shifts in each two-week pay period
- Tuition reimbursement and scholarships for OU Health nurses seeking to continue their education at the Ziegler College of Nursing at the OU Health Sciences Center
“The investments we are making at OU Health are critical both for the short and long term,” said OU Health Interim Chief Nursing Executive Julie Hoff, Ph.D., MPH, RN. “Our aim is to grow, strengthen and enhance our healthcare system. It is our goal to ensure all members of the healthcare team are prepared and empowered to help drive the OU Health System to its best future.”