New veterans unit remains unopened because of staff shortage - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

New veterans unit remains unopened because of staff shortage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Officials say a new $26 million memory care unit for veterans in Truth or Consequences remains closed three months after its grand opening because of staffing issues.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the Director of the Healthcare Coordination Division of the state's Department of Veterans Services Mitchell Lawrence said Wednesday that it's hard to recruit employees for the unit because many don't want to live in the city 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Las Cruces.

The New Mexico State Veterans' Home needs to hire 17 certified nursing assistants before it can open the unit.

According to the job listing, the position pays about $16,000 a year.

State Personnel Office spokeswoman Emilee Cantrell says the agency is working with the veterans department to "initiate salary increases" at the veterans home.

Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

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