TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation implements a new compensation plan to better recruit and retain its physicians and advanced practitioners, effective now.
Principal Chief Bill John Baker’s plan raises the threshold pay for about 120 doctors and advanced level providers working within the tribe’s nine health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital to the region’s market rate.
It also includes quarterly bonuses based on service to patients, using a new performance measuring system called Relative Value Units.
The Cherokee Nation has spent more than a year coming up with an effective compensation plan to raise doctor pay, taking input from its employees and neighboring health facilities.
“We want our Cherokee people to have access to the best quality care possible, and we know that starts with our physicians and stability as a key component,” Baker said. “Under this plan, every physician and advanced practitioner will see a raise.”
Across the country, recruiting doctors for rural health care settings has been a challenge, but Cherokee Nation’s turnover rate remains lower than comparable health care systems.
“Ideally, we never want to lose any of our physicians, but we know there are times they leave for larger cities or higher paying jobs just like any other industry, so we hope this move is one that will have a lasting impact,” said Cherokee Nation Health Services Executive Director Connie Davis. “As we build onto our health system and create new jobs, this compensation plan will have great timing.”
The Cherokee Nation plans to open a new outpatient health facility in 2019 that will create 800 new jobs.