New Brunswick Tribune

Thursday, November 30, 2023

As Omicron strains the health system, doctors are being asked to redeploy

Doctors have been asked to redeploy as Omicron strains the health system

Key takeaways:

  • New Brunswick doctors are being encouraged to redeploy to other parts of the province and work in fields other than their own.
  • The COVID-19 virus has infected 154 Vitalité Health Network employees, who must be removed from their positions.

As per a new internal memo acquired by Global News, doctors in New Brunswick are being encouraged to redeploy to certain other parts of the province and move into areas outside of their specialty.

As per an internal memo dated Jan. 11, the decision was made due to the possibility of rising hospitalizations and also a reduction in physician resources in terms of COVID-19 infections.

As per the memo, the incentive program was developed in partnership with the Department of Health, the 2 health authorities, and the New Brunswick Medical Society.

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The memo explains that “physician redeployment is meant to support the operations of emergency rooms, ICU, and also concentrated care units across various hospitals.”

It went on to say that “FFS (fee-for-service) physicians may send their names to the RHAs contact listed below.” “The Department of Health will cover any increased costs to CMPH (community medicine/public health) categories for physicians practicing outside their usual area of expertise.”

Among the incentives are:

  • A one-time sign-on bonus of $2,500 is available.
  • $500 per shift (emergency room, intensive care unit/critical care unit), with a weekly cap of $2,500.
  • Physicians will be paid at the facility’s applicable ER or ICU/CCU rate for the service they are providing.
  • Code 8889 – Travel Stipend (actual travel time, 20-minute intervals, $1.01 generic unit value) 25 units will be billed for travel.
  • The health authorities will cover the cost of meals and lodging.
  • Child care is available at the facility where the physician is reassigned.

For questions about the memo, both health authorities directed Global News to the Department of Health.

The New Brunswick Medical Society confirmed that it is aware of the program and that some members are taking part. It directed Global News to the two health authorities to determine how many doctors were removed from the program due to COVID-19 and how many would need to be redeployed.

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Doctors have been asked to redeploy as Omicron strains the health system. Image from Global News

“The highly contagious Omicron variant is rapidly spreading and having a severe impact on our already fragile health system,” the Department of Health stated in an email. Several initiatives are being implemented to ensure that critical resources are accessible to provide care to patients across the province.”

It confirmed that the memo had been received and that the program had only recently been established to maintain services across the province.

“A similar initiative for critical care nurses was recently established,” according to the statement.

The COVID-19 virus has infected 154 healthcare workers at Vitalité Health Network, and they must be removed from their jobs.

Horizon Health Network has lost 178 employees as a result of COVID-19.

Source: Global News

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