Kaleida Health offering incentives for extra shifts to address staffing issues amid nurses strike

Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaleida Health is offering a monetary incentive program to employees who pick up additional shifts as a result of recruitment and staffing gaps relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and a nurses strike at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, according to Communications Workers of America, which represents workers at Kaleida and Catholic Health facilities.

A memorandum of understanding posted on the union's website says the program took effect Oct. 17 and is based on the average wage of each individual bargaining unit.

Under the program, eligible employees must commit to work an additional scheduled shift each work week over and above their regular schedule for two weeks (one pay period), according to the agreement. The incentive payment is $450 per pay period for registered nurses, and $325 per pay period for technical and clerical workers.

On Oct. 12, the day Kaleida offered the monetary incentive program to address staffing needs, system CEO Bob Nesselbush sent a message to workers outlining those needs.

"It is no secret that our industry is under enormous pressure and strain. Hospitals and healthcare delivery systems are being challenged unlike any other time that I can recall," Mr. Nesselbush wrote.

He said the pandemic and New York state's vaccination mandate have resulted in staffing challenges, as has the Mercy Hospital strike, which has been ongoing in Buffalo since Oct. 1.

"When you look across the entire Kaleida Health footprint, we face challenges. There are staffing challenges and service line changes in the Southern Tier. Buffalo General Medical Center is seeing record high volumes in the ER, inpatient admissions as well as daily discharges. Oishei Children's Hospital is seeing high ER volumes, not to mention an additional four to six deliveries a day," said Mr. Nesselbush, who also pointed to high patient volumes at Kaleida's Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and ambulance backups at hospitals, among other challenges.

He said he is grateful for the work Kaleida employees are doing, and the system is taking as many actions as possible to address the various existing challenges, which includes the staffing incentive.

Read more about the incentive program here.

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