At a gathering final week, Virginia Secretary of Well being and Human Sources John Littel made an eye-opening comment concerning the state’s understaffed and overstressed psychological well being amenities.
“We’re dropping lots of people to Chick-fil-A,” Littel advised the Normal Meeting’s Joint Fee on Well being Care. “And hopefully the funds will assist with that.”
The staffing points in Virginia’s mental-health amenities are not any secret, however Littel’s remark stood out as a stark anecdote concerning the dire working circumstances for some state workers serving to with the essential societal process of caring for the mentally sick.
In an interview Tuesday, Littel, an appointee of Gov. Glenn Youngkin and former government with the Magellan well being care firm, stated broader employee shortages have enabled the fast-food trade and others to supply extra interesting jobs to state mental-health staff who’ve needed to present as much as comparatively low-paying, tough jobs “all by means of the pandemic.”
“A part of it’s a few of these folks do receives a commission lower than you may get in quick meals or Goal or Walmart or one thing. And it’s not as demanding,” Littel stated, including that the state’s psychological well being staff are “doing lifesaving work daily.”
He stated he was principally referring to staff who could also be in housekeeping or direct help workers roles and may make round $13 to $18 an hour. Current Virginia job postings for Chick-fil-A, which advertises all staff get Sundays off when its eating places are closed, supplied comparable pay, with some areas providing beginning pay of $15 an hour.
In line with the Virginia Division of Behavioral Well being & Developmental Companies, common pay for entry-level direct care jobs at the moment ranges from slightly below $12 an hour to about $17 an hour, which works out to roughly $24,700 to $35,500 per yr.
Broader employee shortages, Littel stated, have prompted the fast-food trade to get extra aggressive on elevating pay and sign-on bonuses. He stated he couldn’t enterprise a guess on the variety of state workers who’ve left for fast-food jobs.
“I’m simply kind of referencing the anecdotes I hear from folks,” he stated, specifying he was making an “illustrative level” that wasn’t meant as a shot at Chick-fil-A.
Littel stated he’s hopeful the upcoming state funds compromise will embody vital new investments that may permit for higher pay and circumstances for the psychological well being workforce.
“The those who work within the system are all heroes,” he stated. “For folks to decide on that as a specialty and decide to that, that’s actually necessary. They’re not what’s improper with the system.”