Texas raising salaries, starting pay for state hospital workers

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is increasing salaries and starting pay at state hospitals and state-supported living centers to address staffing shortages, maintain competitive wages and bring hospital beds back online. 

More than 700 state hospital beds are offline due to workforce challenges, the commission said in a Jan. 24 news release. Increasing starting salaries at state hospitals will help recruit and retain healthcare workers, reduce vacancies and bring more beds back online.

HHSC aims to fill about 1,805 vacancies in state hospitals and 2,137 in state-supported living centers by offering higher starting salaries. 

For example, a registered nurse with three years of experience would start as high as $90,000 a year, according to the commission. Depending on experience, psychiatric nursing assistants and direct support professionals would start at between $17.50 and $21 an hour. Food service workers start as high as $13.94 an hour.

About 7,855 full-time positions at state hospitals and 11,794 at state-supported living centers will also receive salary boosts as part of a $148 million effort, effective March 1. HHSC also offers paid health and dental insurance, vacation and sick leave, a retirement plan, paid training and advancement opportunities.

"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 in the release. "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."

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