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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.

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

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, http://www.cjonline.com