EASTON, Pa. – Northampton County's Gracedale nursing home is short of staff, but not because of pay, County Executive Lamont McClure said Thursday.
"Do we pay as much as hospitals? No," he said, but McClure said at a county council meeting that the total compensation paid at the Upper Nazareth facility is fair.
When pay, benefits and pension are included, he said total hourly compensation for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) is $27.34 per hour, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) make $34.14, and registered nurses (RNs) earn $41.70 hourly.
"I do not believe that dollars in the form of compensation is the reason we can't hire," McClure said.
He did not comment on why Gracedale has been short-staffed, but labor shortages have occurred in many industries including health care since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
The figures McClure cited Thursday do not include shift differentials, hazard pay or overtime, which can push compensation up more.
Gracedale's working conditions and complaints about the quality of care were used against the executive in his recent reelection campaign. McClure still prevailed over Republican Steve Lynch on Tuesday.
Gracedale is not a for-profit operation, McClure noted, and relies on government support. Administrators of the nursing home have made presentations earlier to council this year about their efforts to recruit new workers.
In other business, some councilmembers objected after a St. Luke's University Health Network presentation about a financial maneuver to avoid paying prevailing wages.