IHS Successful Retention Practices
Retention Brief
Volume 2
Issue 4
April 2015
“Indian health facilities
have also found great
success in offering
incentives such as
bonus structures and
student loan repayment
opportunities.”
Retention Incentives

The IHS Office of Human Resources presents the fourth in this year’s series of Retention Briefs designed to help address the challenge of retaining valued health professional and clinical staff in Indian health facilities. We encourage you to share this information with your leadership team (administration, clinical directors, other leaders, etc.).

Today, facility leaders are relying on creative strategies to recruit and retain health professionals. Being resourceful in promoting staff development, investing in the continued education of valued staff and fostering goodwill among the facility team are some of the best ways to ensure longevity. Indian health facilities have also found great success in offering incentives such as bonus structures and student loan repayment opportunities. These incentives are helpful not only in retaining valued staff but also in recruiting and relocating qualified health professionals.

The 3Rs — Recruitment, Relocation and Retention

The Recruitment, Relocation and Retention (3Rs) Incentives bonus structure has been instrumental in recruiting, retaining and relocating health professionals working in Indian health facilities. Using the 3Rs bonus structure, IHS may pay up to 25 percent:

  • In additional salary to recruit a non-federal candidate to fill a position that would otherwise be difficult to fill or the individual is unlikely to accept the position without this incentive.
 
  • Of an employee’s current salary if he or she must relocate for a position that would otherwise be difficult to fill.
 
  • Of an employee’s current salary if he or she has unusually high/unique qualifications and/or if there is a special need of the agency, which makes it essential to retain him or her. This also applies if the employee is likely to leave IHS without the retention incentive.
Additional Service
Credit for Annual
Leave Calculation

As a recruitment tool for new civil service federal employees (or anyone reappointed under certain conditions), IHS may grant credit for directly related, non-federal work experience. This credit changes the candidate’s service computation date for leave purposes and may put him or her in a higher leave-earning category.

IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP)

In addition, the IHS Loan Repayment Program (LRP) has been highly successful in recruiting and retaining valued clinicians. The program was enacted in 1988 as an amendment to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) to ensure that IHS has enough trained health professionals for Indian health program facilities throughout the United States. The LRP funds the repayment of IHS clinician’s health profession education loans — up to $40,000 and up to an additional $10,000 for tax liability — in exchange for an initial two-year service commitment to practice in health facilities serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Opportunities are based on facilities with the greatest staffing needs in specific health profession disciplines.

LRP recipients may be able to extend their contract annually until their qualified student debt is paid. In FY 2014, the LRP awarded a total of 710 contracts (including 379 new awards and 331 contract extensions).

Visit the IHS loan repayment site for more information about the IHS LRP and eligibility requirements.

NOTE: Hiring officials should remind all health professionals who might be considering applying for the IHS LRP that LRP participants cannot receive additional financial support from another government-funded program that requires a competing service commitment and runs concurrently with IHS LRP funding. This includes loan repayment programs through the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as well as scholarship support through the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Programs and the IHS Scholarship Program. Any non-government loan repayment funding received must be reported to the IHS LRP.

Supplemental Loan Repayment Program (SLRP)

First authorized in 2000, the IHS Supplemental Loan Repayment Program (SLRP) provides another option for health care professionals who were unable to receive an IHS LRP award due to lack of national funding. The SLRP helps service units and Area offices to attract and retain health care professionals in hard-to-fill positions by providing candidates with loan repayment in addition to their salary and benefits. IHS facilities and Area offices can provide up to $35,000 per year, plus applicable taxes, to eligible candidates who agree to an initial two-year SLRP contract. SLRP recipients may be able to extend their contract annually until their qualified student debt is paid.

Visit the IHS loan repayment site for more information about the SLRP.

Don't forget to check out the Recruitment and Retention Tools, a valuable resource from IHS.

Indian Health Service HHS logo IHS logo
 

The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

If you received this email from a friend and would like to join our list: SUBSCRIBE