AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The video above is a KVUE Defenders report published in October 2022.
The Texas Health and Human Services Committee (HHSC) has announced it is increasing salaries and starting pay for employees at state hospitals and living centers.
The wage increase is to help not only support the state-run facilities, but to assist in crucial staffing needs, maintain competitive wages and bring more hospital beds into working order to help support the community.
State-supported living centers provide residential care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, and state hospitals provide inpatient psychiatric care for patients of all ages.
According to a press release from the HHSC, over 700 state hospital beds are "offline," or not in use, because of the challenges that have come about due to staffing shortages.
“Maintaining a highly skilled, well-trained healthcare workforce is critical to providing quality healthcare and increasing access for Texans across our state,” Gov. Greg Abbott said. “By increasing salaries and wages to be more competitive, HHSC is addressing critical staffing needs and bringing more hospital beds back online. Together, we are bolstering recruitment and retention of the best and brightest health professionals to serve Texans in our state hospitals and state supported living centers.”
There are around 1,805 total vacancies across state hospitals and 2,137 in state-supported living centers that HHSC is hoping to fill. Starting on March 1, there will be an increase in salaries for 7,855 full-time positions at state hospitals and 11,794 at state-supported living centers.
HHSC stated that this increase will total to about $148 million, which is in addition to other financial incentives the state has offered staff as an effort to increase recruitment and staff retention in 2022.
HHSC also offers "paid health and dental insurance, vacation and sick leave, a retirement plan, paid training, and advancement opportunities," according to the press release.
Positions are available across the state. Every open position can be seen on the HHSC's website.