State Spent Nearly $30M on Overtime Pay for Inmate Health Workers
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation -- which faces a shortage of workers, such as psychiatrists -- accounts for nearly half of state's spending on overtime pay in 2014, according to an Associated Press analysis of state controller payroll data, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.
In total, California in 2014 spent about $1.13 billion in overtime pay for its 220,000 state workers, compared with about $947 million for about 215,000 workers in 2013. In 2014, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation billed more than $542 million in overtime pay, compared with $414 million in 2013.
Details of Overtime Pay for CDCR Health Workers
According to the AP/Bee, overtime pay for inmate health care providers more than doubled from more than $12 million in 2013 to about $30 million in 2014.
The data show that about 1,500 CDCR-related staff -- including physicians, psychiatrists and nurses -- billed more than $100,000 for overtime work in 2014.
Meanwhile, the California Department of State Hospitals increased its overtime pay by 5% from 2013 to about $104 million in 2014.
According to the AP/Bee, the increase in overtime pay in large part stems from a shortage of workers for some positions, such as psychiatrists. In addition, Joyce Hayhoe -- a spokesperson for federal court-appointed receiver J. Clark Kelso, who oversees inmate health care -- said that the locations of California's prison health care facilities make it difficult to find enough primary care physicians.
Departments Consider Ways To Fill Vacancies, Reduce Overtime
According to the AP/Bee, CDCR and CDSH are considering ways to cut the amount of overtime pay among corrections-related health care workers.
- Hayhoe said that Kelso is reviewing telehealth options to reduce overtime billing by prison physicians and nurses; and
- CDSH spokesperson Ken August said the department has created a recruitment unit and is using social media to attract more applicants.
Meanwhile, Jim Evans, a spokesperson for Gov. Jerry Brown (D), said the administration is working to ensure that overtime is not driven by staffing vacancies (Lin, AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.