When to Use Incentive Pay

When to Use Incentive Pay

Children’s Mercy Kansas City determines incentive pay using a data tool developed for children’s hospitals.

The “tripledemic” in the winter of 2022-2023 sparked an unprecedented need for staffing at Children’s Mercy Kansas City. The combination of COVID-19, RSV, and flu resulted in significantly more visits and calls to the nurse advice line.

“Offering incentive pay above and beyond the normal rate was a way for us to motivate our team members to work extra shifts to care for the spike in patient numbers,” says Heather Russo, the hospital’s senior business director of clinical operations and access.

After the respiratory surge in spring of 2023, the hospital sought ways to realign its financials. Russo says Children’s Mercy developed a process using data from PROSPECT and other factors. PROSPECT allows Children’s Mercy to see how each clinic’s paid hours per unit of service (PHPUOS) performance compares to those at peer hospitals. That data, along with vacancy rates and the number of times leaders serve in direct caregiving roles, help determine clinics that should be eligible for financial enhancements, such as offering incentive pay for a nurse to pick up an extra shift.

Assessments are conducted every six weeks. Russo says the process has made a difference. “We pull the financials for all the pay codes that are impacted by this decision-making process and send that information to our senior nursing leaders to review on a monthly basis. That way, we are reviewing the impacts of our process against the financials to ensure we are seeing the impacts that we would expect to be there,” she says.

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