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Yankton mental hospital improves staff retention

YANKTON (AP) -- The administrator of a state-run mental health facility in Yankton says the hospital's hiring and staff retention have improved since a pay raise and a rapid hiring fair last year.

YANKTON (AP) - The administrator of a state-run mental health facility in Yankton says the hospital's hiring and staff retention have improved since a pay raise and a rapid hiring fair last year.

Human Services Center Administrator Troy Jones told lawmakers during a recent Department of Social Services budget briefing that the center's overall turnover has dropped to 10 percent since July, the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.

The center has struggled for years with turnover and staff shortages. Employees have been required to work overtime to deal with the needs of the 1,800 patients served annually. An investigation by the newspaper revealed that the facility lost an employee every three days on average since 2008. The investigation also outlined an increase in attacks by patients against employees.

Jones also said there are less open positions in direct care compared to the month before an Oct. 26 hiring fair. He said 15 mostly entry-level people were hired at the fair.

The hospital is still in need of 11 nurses, eight and a half mental health aides, seven counselors, three psychiatric social workers and nine clinical staff.

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Jones said that mandatory overtime is still an issue, but "we are looking at doing away with that in the very near future."

When asked by Republican Rep. Jean Hunhoff if the hospital ever turned away patients on the weekend, Jones said the units sometimes consolidate but that no one is ever turned away.

 

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