News: California prison system needs more doctors

October 3, 2008

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation needs doctors, and it is ready to pay.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation needs doctors, and it is ready to pay. Average salary for a non-board-certified prison physician starts at $223,344 a year, according to the state, while a board-certified doctor can start at $248,170 a year. As of July 30, California was short 52 physicians for its 175,000-inmate prison system, and despite a budget crisis facing the state, the average starting doctor salary has been raised twice since 2006 to aid recruitment. There are, of course, drawbacks. "We feel our compensation helps make up for working in [an] environment where patients can be more difficult," says Katrina Hagen, deputy director of workforce development for the department. However, as a prison doctor, there are no hassles with third-party payers, patients will always show up for their appointments, there is plenty of security, and there's no need for malpractice insurance.