California Nurses, Psychiatrists Lead State Workers in Overtime Pay
An analysis of payments to California workers revealed that 274 psychiatrists and 18 nurses were among the 616 state employees whose annual compensation exceeded $212,000 annually after taking into account overtime payments, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
All of the top 10 overtime earners were registered nurses working in either prisons or state mental hospitals.
Some of the health care workers' overtime is the result of a court decision that found that health care in state prisons did not meet constitutional standards. As a result, the court appointed a receiver to oversee the overhaul of the prison medical system, including hiring more workers and raising salaries.
Luis Patiño, a spokesperson for the federal receiver for health care in state prisons, explained that it is less expensive for the state to pay overtime than use contract nurses. He said prisons rely on nurse volunteers to take overtime shifts (McCormick, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/30).