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As $16 million expansion set for next month, Mary Free Bed looking for additional staffing while health care workers are scarce

Rehabilitation hospital offering up to $15 thousand dollar signing bonus to qualified candidates to entice them to apply

Grand Rapids’ Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation will open its $16 million expansion next month. It comes at a time when hospitals across west Michigan face a healthcare worker shortage. In an attempt the deficit, its offering signing bonuses of up to $15 thousand. WGVU’s Daniel Boothe reports.

Officials from the Grand Rapids-based rehabilitation provider has been running at full or near-full capacity for the last few years. Its new, multi-million expansion on Mary Free Bed’s sixth floor will provide an additional 20 hospital beds by the end of October;

Maria Opoku-Agyeman is the organization’s Chief Nursing Officer.

“The additional space is going to be a huge blessing for our staff and our patients, as we have simply run out of space.”

But how to staff it remains an issue. Like many health care systems across West Michigan, Mary Free Bed took a hit during the pandemic, with nurses either retiring, seeking employment elsewhere or choosing to travel to remote locations in pursuit of better wages.

As it seeks new hires, the hospital is incentivizing positions signing bonuses up to $15 thousand.

“There are conditions,” Opoku-Agyeman said. “How much experience they have and a willingness to be here for at least three years.”

Mary Free Bed has locations and partnerships with other healthcare organizations across Michigan, Indiana and Illinois employing roughly 2,200 employees across its network.

I’m Daniel Boothe.

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