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ICYMI: Missouri GOP Gov. Mike Parson Turns Back on Veterans’ Caregivers

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More than 500 caregivers for Missouri’s veterans were left out in the cold last week after Gov. Mike Parson backtracked on the previously promised pay raises for the vital workforce.
With nursing assistants making under $25,000 a year, Gov. Parson had promised the Missouri Veterans Commission an additional $3 million in his $30.9 billion budget to increase pay and reduce turnover. But when Parson eventually revealed his spending plan, the promised funding was nowhere to be found. Now the commission has been left to scramble to retain the depleted workforce caring for more than 1,200 Missouri veterans at the state’s nursing homes. Meanwhile, Parson-appointee, MO HealthNet division director Todd Richardson, continues to rake in over $227,000 in annual salary – the 18th highest salary in state government.
“Even caregivers for Missouri’s veterans can’t catch a break In Gov. Mike Parson’s self-interest driven administration,” said Deputy Communications Director Christina Amestoy. “The care that Missouri veterans receive under the state should be a priority, not a line item to be cut from a budget.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Parson nixes pay raises for caregivers at Missouri’s veterans homes
Gov. Mike Parson’s administration has backtracked on giving raises to workers at Missouri’s state-run nursing homes for military veterans.
With officials uncertain over how much money will be generated by taxes on the legal sale of medical marijuana, the administration left the raises out of the governor’s proposed $30.9 billion spending plan released last week.
The decision left the Missouri Veterans Commission scrambling to assuage employees that their work is valuable even if they aren’t paid well.
The commission had initially convinced the administration that it deserved an additional $3 million to boost the pay of more than 500 employees who work at the seven nursing homes.
Nursing assistants currently are paid about $24,850 annually to assist veterans with grooming, bathing, brushing teeth and feeding. Workers also make resident beds, turn bedridden patients and move supplies and equipment.
In asking for the additional money, the MVC said the facilities face a worker turnover rate of 80% as people leave for better paying positions at hospitals and other health care settings.
Officials said the added money could reduce required overtime and the hiring of temporary workers from staffing agencies.
The commission spent more than $1 million on temp workers to fill gaps in the depleted workforce during the last fiscal year.
In addition, the money could reduce worker compensation cases that arise from increased injuries because of understaffing.
But, when Parson unveiled his proposed spending plan last week, there was no money for the raises.