- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The state will increase starting pay for nurses at Osawatomie State Hospital, which is struggling with staffing problems.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services announced Monday it will increase starting pay from $25.05 an hour to $28.44 an hour. Interim agency director Tim Keck said in a news release a study found starting salary for registered nurses at the hospital was 9 percent below comparable facilities.

The hospital currently has more than 20 full-time registered nurses and uses 15 agency registered nurses.

Osawatomie lost its federal certification last year over security lapses, including the reported rape of a worker by a patient.

Osawatomie and the Larned state hospital had more than 350 open positions at the end of January, a combined vacancy rate of about 38 percent.

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