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LARNED, Kan. (AP) — Some employees at Larned State Hospital are being required to work 16-hour shifts because of a severe staffing shortage at the psychiatric hospital.

A hospital administrator on Tuesday issued an order requiring mental health technicians to work double shifts because of a 22 percent vacancy rate in those positions at the hospital in western Kansas.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports officials say employees at the hospital are unwilling to voluntarily work after 9 p.m. The interim chief nursing officer’s directive will keep technicians until 11 p.m., even if that means a 16-hour workday.

Tim Keck, secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, said the order was necessary to guarantee that patients get continuous and consistent care.

Robert Choromanski, head of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, called the order unjust and unfair.


Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal,