TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission said it is planning to increase salaries at state hospitals and state living centers to help recruit more staff and increase beds at these locations. Officials also want to increase the starting wages.

“Maintaining a highly skilled, well-trained healthcare workforce is critical to providing quality healthcare and increasing access for Texans across our state,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “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.”

Several jobs with the state are available in Rusk, Lufkin, Abilene, Austin, Big Spring, Brenham, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Kerrville, Lubbock, Mexia, Richmond, Harlingen, San Angelo, San Antonio, Terrell, Vernon, Waco and Wichita Falls.

Scott Schalchlin, Deputy Executive Commissioner for HHSC, said these wage changes will allow them to serve more people.

“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,” he said.

More than 700 hospital beds are not being used because of staffing issues. HHSC is hoping to hire 1,805 employees in state hospitals and 2,137 at state supported living centers.

With the increase in pay, a registered nurse with three years of experience could earn $90,000 per year. Other positions will also get a bump in their pay beginning on March 1. This includes about 7,855 positions at state hospitals and 11,794 at state supported living centers.

HHSC said they made other financial changes last year to attract and retain healthcare workers.

State living centers offer housing to people who are disabled and state hospitals have psychiatric care for adults, teens and children.