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Nevada DOC Audit: Doctors Work 5 Hours, Get Paid for 10

The Nevada Department of Corrections (DOC), which houses 12,750 prisoners, employs 23 full-time physicians who are paid a salary that presumes they work four 10-hour shifts per week. Accordingly, they receive their full wages regardless of the hours they actually put in. The DOC’s eight part-time doctors work two 10-hour shifts per week.

However, a December 2012 audit report revealed that the DOC’s full-time physicians worked an average of only 5.31 hours per shift, while those employed part-time put in just 5 hours per shift. The report estimated that the compensated but unworked hours translated into a $1.9 million cost to taxpayers in fiscal year 2012.

The audit, by the Nevada Department of Administration, covered the DOC’s 12 physicians, 6 dentists and 5 psychiatrists employed full-time. While the audit report tracked the on-duty hours worked by about half the doctors, it did not address whether they conducted any work during their off hours such as completing paperwork.

The audit noted that “establishing a defined work schedule and tracking doctors’ attendance will help ensure that doctors’ actual hours worked are consistent with hours claimed,” and concluded that “Based on our sample, 45 percent of the salaries paid to full-time doctors and 57 percent of the salaries paid to part-time doctors were not supported by attendance logs.”

The report did not delve into the quality of medical, dental and psychiatric care in the DOC’s seven facilities, nor cor-relate such services with physician job attendance.
Nevada prisoners submit an average of 8,274 medical requests per month, resulting in 16,027 prison clinic visits plus 210 outside clinic visits. Approximately 70 prisoners per month are admitted to prison infirmaries, 73 go to outside hospitals or regional medical facilities and another 74 are admitted to mental health units.

Nevada DOC Director Greg Cox said the department would begin tracking the hours actually worked by prison doctors. However, he noted that attempting to saddle medical staff with attendance reporting, or privatizing DOC medical services as suggested by the audit, might subject the state to litigation that could cost more than the estimated $1.9 million in unsupported payroll expenditures.

The audit report also addressed several other areas, including issues related to enhancing the DOC’s prison industry programs and expediting its hiring process for new employees.

Sources:; State of Nevada, Dept. of Administration, Audit Report No. 13-03 (December 2012)

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