HFO Radius: Issue 10, October 2012: Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative

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hfo-radius-logoThe Initiative

Created in 2010, the Northern and Rural Recruitment and Retention Initiative (NRRRI) offers taxable financial incentives to eligible physicians who establish a full-time practice in an eligible community of the province. The initiative replaced the Incentive Grant and Free Tuition programs previously offered under the Underserviced Area Program. NRRR helps Ontarians living in rural and remote areas of Ontario have better access to physician services.

Community eligibility for the NRRRI is based on the Rurality Index for Ontario (RIO) score, a measure of rurality that ensures funding is specifically targeted to northern and rural communities. The RIO Score was developed by the Ontario Medical Association and is derived from three factors: population (count and density), travel time to a basic referral centre, and travel time to an advanced referral centre. RIO scores are assigned to Statistics Canada census subdivisions (CSDs).

The level of NRRRI funding is based on the RIO scores and ranges between $80,000 and $117,600 paid over four years. Grants are awarded based on eligibility criteria and other considerations. For example, family physicians mustfully participate in comprehensive physician services.

The Data

As of August 2012, over 200 physicians are participating in the NRRRI, practicing in over 60 communities (see maps below):

  • Over 150 NRRRI physicians are practicing in the Northeast and Northwest Local Health Integration Networks.
  • Physicians participating in the NRRRI represent more than 25 different specialties.
  • There are over 125 family physicians providing primary care services in northern and rural Ontario under the NRRRI.
  • Between 2009 and 2010, the total number of physicians practicing in the Northern LHINs increased by 19, compared to an increase of 35 between 2010 and 2011 after the NRRR began. The 2010-11 increase was almost 85% greater than the 2009-10 increase. This trend is likely due to a combination of various factors including but not limited to, the NRRRI and the first cohort of graduates from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine entering practice.
  • Between 2009 and 2010, the total number of physicians practicing in all other NRRRI eligible communities increased by 17, compared to an increase of 67 between 2010 and 2011 after the NRRRI began. The 2010-11 increase was almost 300% greater than the 2009-10 increase.

                    CSDs with NRRRI Physicians in Northern ON

      CSDs with NRRRI Physicians in Southern ON

north south-2

Note: The five Northern Urban Referral Centres are also eligible for NRRRI. They include North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Timmins.

More information about the NRRRI can be found at this link: http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/uap/nrrr.aspx

 

Source: HFO Radius