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Oct. 10, 2012
TOPEKA The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services today announced that licensed practical nurses at Larned State Hospital will be getting a pay raise later this month.
Effective Oct. 28, the hospital’s beginning LPNs will be paid $17.39 an hour. Currently, they’re paid $14.30 an hour.
An experienced LPN’s starting wage will increase from $15.03 an hour to $17.79 an hour.
The increases are designed to help the hospital recruit and retain more nurses. Earlier this year, one fourth of the hospital’s 76 LPN positions were vacant.
KDADS officials announced in July a similar boost in pay for the hospital’s registered nurses.
Larned is one of the three state hospitals for the mentally ill.
In March, a national accreditation organization, The Joint Commission, cited the hospital for not having enough nurses and for not doing enough to ensure that medications were safely dispensed. The findings put the hospital’s accreditation — and potentially $14.5 million in federal aid — in jeopardy.
The hospital has since filed a plan for correcting the 30 deficiencies. The Joint Commission’s surveyors are expected to return for an unannounced inspection between now and Oct. 28.
“I’m surprised that it’s taken (KDADS) so long to do this,” said Kansas Organization of State Employees Executive Director Mike Marvin. “We got it approved quite a while ago.”
According to a KDADS officials, implementation of the increase was tied to completion of a survey of wages paid by competing employers in the region.
Marvin said that while the raises were much deserved and long overdue, they likely would do little to improve worker conditions at the hospital.
“Mandatory overtime is still out of control,” he said, noting that workers are often expected to work one or two 16-hour shifts a week.
“You can give people a pay raise,” Marvin said, “but as soon as they find out they have to put in all that mandatory overtime, they’re not going to stay. They leave and then you get to a point where you’ve pretty much depleted the job market and nobody wants to work there.”
Marvin said state officials should consider moving the hospital’s Sexual Predator Treatment Program to a larger city to take advantage of bigger labor pools.
“It needs to be where there’s a larger population base,” he said. “There only so many people who are willing to do that kind of work and right now that has pretty much petered out.”
The KHI News Service is an editorially independent initiative of the Kansas Health Institute and is committed to timely, objective and in-depth coverage of health issues and the policy making environment. Find more about the News Service at khi.org/newsservice or contact us at (785) 783-2529.