The Republican lieutenant governor also criticzed the pay raises the agency has given in recent years. Mikula said the pay raises met state law guidelines, such as increasing the pay for 3,000 direct care workers from about $16,000 annually to $17,000 annually as they received mandated training.
Reeves said he was more concerned with the raises averaging $20,000 per year for about 35 employees. Mikula said she assumes those are psychiatrists and other doctors, whom the agency struggles to keep on staff because of competition in the private sector.
Reeves pointed out the Department of Health is receiving more state funds than it received in 2012, But Currier pointed out 2012 was in the midst of the Great Recession. Information provided by the Health Department revealed the agency received $36 million in state funds for the past fiscal year – about $4 million more than for the current fiscal year that began on July 1.