Mental Health Department Authorizes Pay Increases for Nurses, Doctors
The Department of Mental Health on Wednesday agreed to increase wages by up to 18% for nurses and some doctors at state mental hospitals, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, nurses and doctors have been leaving state mental hospitals to take comparable jobs in prisons after a December 2005 court order mandated an 18% raise for nurses and a 10% pay increase for doctors working in prisons.
Workers at state mental hospitals also have been subjected to mandatory overtime and assaults by patients.
The pay increase will take effect March 1 and will be comparable to those required in state prisons. Psychiatrists, psychiatric technicians, psychologists and other mental health staff not affected by the emergency measure will seek pay raises in upcoming contract negotiations, union and hospital officials said (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 2/3).
Meanwhile, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Chief Roderick Hickman said at a hearing on Thursday that progress was being made in reforming the state prison system, including hiring medical experts and improving treatment of female inmates.
However, Sen. Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles) said the prison system is highly deficient and criticized the pace of the reforms and the department's growing budget (Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, 2/3).