Missouri’s seven veterans homes are getting help to bolster staffing levels.
The state has been awarded a $507,000 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant to give a $920 one-time payment to full-time support care assistants. It also allows the same amount to be given to workers hired into the same positions between March 1 and July 1 of this year.
The Missouri Veterans Commission has been dealing with some deep shortages of frontline workers at the state’s veterans homes. During the last state budget year, Missouri’s Veterans homes dealt with a 55% vacancy rate for support care assistants and a 32% vacancy rate for senior support care assistants.
State Veterans Commission Executive Director Paul Kirchoff said certified medical technicians, certified nursing assistants, and the senior nursing assistants qualify for the payment.
“It’s a reward for those that have stuck with us over the last couple of years, as well as maybe a little bit of an incentive to bring people in the front door. We want to make sure that we get people in the front door, the new people into our staff, but we’ve got to close that back door too. We’ve got to make sure that those staff that we value, that are certainly a great part of what we provide to Missouri’s veterans, stay with us,” he said.
Kirchoff said there’s a direct correlation to the number of veterans they can care for and the number of workers they have.
“Our CNAs are the backbone of what we do in taking care of Missouri’s veterans in the nursing homes. We couldn’t do without them,” said Kirchoff. “It is a labor of love to take care of elderly. If we don’t have the CNAs within the home, then we can’t accept new veterans. Our veteran population or census is about 50% capacity of what we can take in or could if we were fully staffed.”
Missouri has Veterans homes in Cameron, Cape Girardeau, Mexico, Mount Vernon, St. James, St. Louis, and Warrensburg.
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