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The latest news about the novel coronavirus and COVID-19 in Montana.

New incentive program aims to recruit health care workers to Montana

Gov. Greg Gianforte and Billings Clinic interim chief medical officer Dr. Michelle Pierson speak at a Billings Clinic event announcing the program on October 2, 2021.
Kayla Desroches
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Gov. Greg Gianforte and Billings Clinic interim chief medical officer Dr. Michelle Pierson speak at a Billings Clinic event announcing the program on October 2, 2021.

Montana is funding a new incentive program to help recruit health care providers in response to statewide staffing issues.

The new program will allow employers to compensate doctors and nurses up to $12,500 to relocate to Montana, if they commit to remaining employed for at least a year.

Speaking at an event at Billings Clinic, Gov. Greg Gianforte said the health care worker shortage predates the pandemic, "but without taking specific action, it will outlast it as well."

A recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report says that the nation’s health care sector is down by more than 500,000 workers since Feb. 2020.

The relocation program "will be an important tool in attracting much needed health care staff to our state," Billings Clinic CEO Scott Ellner said in a statement.

The governor’s office says the program is expected to begin later this month.

Copyright 2021 Yellowstone Public Radio. To see more, visit Yellowstone Public Radio.

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.