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Kansas Agency, Labor Union Split Over Hospital Staffing


State officials overseeing mental health hospitals and an employee labor union are disputing over whether a hospital in west-central Kansas was staffed at minimum standards.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that an email released by the Kansas Organization for State Employees says Larned State Hospital was inadequately staffed in all units Monday. The union says staffing is a continual problem for the hospital, which has had to ask workers to come in.

Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary Tim Keck says staffing didn't fall too low, but that it was a complex issue. He says staffing levels fluctuate daily.

A union official says the department isn't doing enough, saying pay is too low and health insurance premiums are too high.

Keck says nearly 30 percent of the hospital's jobs are vacant.