In summary

The head of a network of community clinics in Los Angeles says a $25 minimum wage has improved patient care and staff retention, and wants Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign legislation that would make it a requirement statewide.

Guest Commentary written by

Jim Mangia

Jim Mangia

Jim Mangia is the president and CEO of St. John’s Community Health.

Re: “California’s community health systems can’t handle a minimum wage for workers

To improve Californians’ health, we must raise health care workers’ wages.  

Alongside workers and hospitals, St. John’s Community Health helped forge an agreement raising health care worker wages statewide to $25 per hour. Gov. Gavin Newsom must now approve it.

After the trauma of the pandemic, workers’ stress has been compounded by inadequate staffing and pressure to work overtime. Soaring housing and living costs have pushed health care workers to a breaking point. 

Poverty, homelessness and racism have already taken a toll on health in our primarily Latino and Black community in Los Angeles. People will grow sicker if we can’t recruit and retain an accessible and local health care workforce. 

Senate Bill 525 steps up wages over time, so health care providers can pay for wage increases without closures or reductions in services. While increasing wages comes with a cost to our state safety net, I know that delaying investment in our workforce will only cost more in the long run. 

St. John’s raised our workers’ minimum wage to $25 an hour, and we’ve seen significant improvements in patient care and staff retention.

Approving SB 525 will build on the historic steps Newsom has taken to extend health care to all. Strengthening health equity is an opportunity California can’t afford to miss. 

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