Nov 18 — For a man who has not one, not two, but three jobs, Dr. David Scrase doesn’t collect a lot of paychecks.
Scrase basically performs two of the three tasks for free.
“He’s a real public servant who cares about New Mexicans, their health and well-being,” said Jodi McGinnis Porter, spokesperson for the state’s Department of Social Services, where Scrase is secretary of the state. Firm since 2019.
Scrase, 69, who has emerged as one of the most visible faces of the state government and its response to the coronavirus pandemic, not only oversees social services but was asked in July to simultaneously serve as secretary Acting Department of Health following the resignation of Dr Tracie Collins – an assignment he accepted without pay.
“Secretary Scrase was offered additional compensation when he accepted the post of Acting Secretary of the DOH, which he turned down,” Nora Meyers Sackett, Gov. Michelle’s press secretary, wrote in an email. Lujan Grisham.
Scrase said in a statement that he and the governor understand that a pay rise is not necessary for him to take on the additional responsibilities.
Scrase, who is paid $ 158,340 per year, also turned down a proposed raise last year.
“I don’t work for the state government for the money,” Scrase wrote in the statement. “When I came to [the Human Services Department] in 2019 my favorite (real) joke was: “This is my second 50% pay cut in three years”. It never occurred to me to ask for more money and when I was offered a raise a year ago, I declined. “
In addition to overseeing two of the state’s largest government departments, Scrase, a certified internist and geriatrician, continues to see patients at the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he has practiced medicine for six years. . He said he could no longer be paid by the UNM Hospital when he was appointed secretary of social services because the hospital is a major contractor for Medicaid.
“I love my patients and my practice and it’s worth doing it for free,” Scrase wrote.
The governor said in a statement Thursday that Scrase was among the countless officials who work tirelessly on behalf of New Mexicans.
“It is an integral part of the state’s response to the pandemic and truly of the state’s healthcare community as a whole,” said Lujan Grisham. “Dedicated and well-regarded physician whose patients adore him, he is a true workaholic in state government – there is no task too small or too big, no obstacle that cannot be is not eager to overcome. the well-being of New Mexicans, and we are deeply grateful to have him as a member of the team. “
Sackett noted that the governor “spoke out of the blue about his collegial admiration and appreciation for him frequently during the pandemic,” as late as a press briefing Wednesday.
When asked if he was facing burnout under the weight of three demanding jobs, Scrase said he had a regulated schedule.
“I exercised, meditated, read and journaled every morning for 640 consecutive days,” he wrote. “I really take care of myself, I read 25-35 books a year and I’m not exhausted at all.”
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.