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Prison doctor gets paid for doing little or nothing

California surgeon has been on leave with pay, fired, fighting his dismissal or doing paperwork since '05.

July 13, 2011|Jack Dolan

Rohlfing got his job back in November 2009, but medical supervisors decided he still was not ready to treat patients. Instead, he was put on records duty. He is also in a retraining program designed to "evaluate clinical skills and provide feedback to the physician and the employer," Kincaid said.

The receiver believed that decisions by the Personnel Board were being based on an overly strict reading of state service rules, not on what might be best for patients, and successfully petitioned the court to order the board to hire outside medical experts for help with future cases.




Chronicle of problems

California prison doctor Jeffrey Rohlfing, who collected $777,423 from the state last year, has a troubled history:

1996: Placed on five years' probation by state medical board following psychiatric problems

2000: Still on probation, begins limited work at High Desert State Prison

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, July 15, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 2 inches; 82 words Type of Material: Correction
State pay: An article in the July 13 Section A said that prison doctor Jeffrey Rohlfing was the highest paid state employee in California last year, taking home $777,423. Although the government records that show his earnings cover all state departments, state agencies and the California State University system, they do not include employees of the University of California. Some UC employees were paid more, though UC Media Relations Director Steve Montiel said significant portions of their earnings came from non-taxpayer sources.

2003: Hired full time at High Desert

2005: Clinical privileges revoked by prison medical staff. Put on paid leave.

2007: Fired from prison system

2009: Reinstated after state Personnel Board ruling. Assigned to "mailroom" duty, reviewing paper medical records. Not allowed to treat patients.

Sources: State medical board, California Prison Health Care Services, Times reporting

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