Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Insane: California Government Psychiatrists Paid $400,000
Government is all about creating distortions in the economy.
Mohammad Safi, a graduate of a medical school in Afghanistan, began working as a psychiatrist at a California mental hospital in 2006, making $90,682 in his first six months. Last year, he took home $822,302, all of it paid by taxpayers.
Safi benefited from what amounted to a bidding war after a federal court forced the state to improve inmate care. The prisons raised pay to lure psychiatrists, the mental health department followed suit to keep employees, and costs soared. Last year, 16 California psychiatrists, including Safi, made more than $400,000, while only one did in the other 11 most populous states, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The bidding war’s effect on the state’s mental-health costs is evident in the Bloomberg payroll data, which shows that from 2005 to 2008, the median income for California’s government- employed psychiatrists rose 58 percent to $251,060. Psychiatrists in the U.S. earn a median income of $194,748, according to salary.com, a website that tracks salaries for various professions using data collected from employers.