Gov. Ricketts, Veterans’ Affairs Announce Pay Increase for Staff Care Technicians

Posted By: Channel 8 Eyewitness News

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) announced plans to implement a 20 percent pay increase for staff care technicians starting in January 2018.

The increase follows recent surveys that show wages for Nebraska’s veterans care workers are falling behind peer states. The pay raise will make the salaries of veterans care workers more competitive with similar roles both within government and the private sector.

"We need to continue providing our veterans with top-of-the-line care, and reward our skilled teammates who are delivering that care every day," said Governor Ricketts. "This increase will improve recruitment and retention, enabling us to provide more continuity of care and serve more people."

Staff care technicians, more commonly referred to in the industry as CNAs, provide basic nursing care, administer medications, and perform a variety of other tasks to ensure Nebraska’s veterans receive first-class care.

There are currently 135 staff care technicians at the state’s veterans’ homes who will receive this increase. This position has seen a high turnover rate, and through staff surveys and research, NDVA found low wages and mandatory overtime are the main reasons these teammates choose to leave. This high turnover has forced the agency to utilize third-party staffing agencies, which impacts continuity of care and incurs additional costs. Current resources are being utilized to provide the pay increase, and no additional funding will be required to complete this initiative due to the cost reduction in replacing contracted CNAs with permanent state teammates.

"This is a big win in our efforts to retain those who care for America’s heroes," said NDVA Director John Hilgert. "I want to thank Governor Ricketts and his team for helping us make changes that will allow us to better serve those who have so heroically and selflessly served us."

"For 20 years, the Nebraska Veterans’ Homes Board has sought ways to make wages for our dedicated staff care techs more competitive and now it is happening," said Jim Cada, chairman of the Nebraska Veterans’ Homes Board. "I want to thank the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs for its efforts and support, as well as all the staff working in our veterans’ homes."