Over 19,600 employees at state hospitals and supported living centers will receive raises in the coming weeks as the Texas Health and Human Services Commission tackles workforce challenges.

Starting pay will also increase for many positions, including nursing, direct care, and food service, according to a news release.

The agency is working to maintain competitive wages, recruit and attract healthcare professionals, fill vacancies and make more hospital beds available. According to the release, over 700 state hospital beds are offline amid staffing issues.

Over 1,800 roles at state hospitals and over 2,100 at living centers are open. Jobs are available in Abilene, Austin, Big Spring, Brenham, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Kerrville, Lubbock, Lufkin, Mexia, Richmond, Harlingen, Rusk, San Angelo, San Antonio, Terrell, Vernon, Waco and Wichita Falls, the release said.

“We are incredibly grateful for the hard work and dedication of our current staff, and we look forward to continuing to grow our teams with qualified and compassionate healthcare professionals who share our commitment to support the patients at our state hospitals and the residents at our state-supported living centers,” Scott Schalchlin, deputy executive commissioner for the HHSC’s Health and Specialty Care System, said.

According to the HHSC, state hospitals provide inpatient psychiatric care, while state-supported living centers provide residential services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Texas has nine state hospitals, one residential youth center, and 13 supported living centers.

Current and incoming employees at eight state hospitals and the Waco Center for Youth will receive salary increases on Feb. 1, according to José Andrés Araiza, deputy press officer for the HHSC. The Rio Grande State Center employees and all supported living centers will receive increased pay on March 1.

In total, the state is providing $148 million in salary increases, the release said. Depending on experience, psychiatric nursing assistants and direct support professionals will start at $17.50-$21 per hour, while hourly pay was previously between $14.90-$15.70. A registered nurse with three years of experience will receive up to $90,000 annually.

“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. “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.”

Texans can find open positions and learn more about the roles on the HHSC website or email the agency with questions.

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