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This anesthesiologist is Los Angeles County's highest paid employee. He works 94 hours a week

Rebecca Ellis, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — The joke around the hospital is that Dr. Sebo Amirkhanian Namagerdy does not leave Rancho Los Amigos, a premier rehabilitation facility run by Los Angeles County.

His Mercedes is always in the parking lot. A former nurse found him to be such a permanent fixture at the Downey hospital that she compared him to “a piece of the material.” Doctors at other county-run facilities have heard of the guy who’s the “one-man-show” of his intensive care unit.

“He’s basically living there,” said a Rancho doctor, one of four current and former hospital employees who spoke with the Los Angeles Times on the condition of anonymity to discuss a colleague. “I see him in the mornings with a toothbrush and a towel around his neck.”

It’s a lucrative second home. Namagerdy, an anesthesiologist in the hospital’s ICU, earned $1.26 million in 2023, according to salary data made public last month.

He was the highest paid of the county’s more than 100,000 employees — for the fifth year in a row.

In 2023, he made about $450,000 more than any other Rancho doctor or any other county anesthesiologist. He made about as much as his boss, his boss’ boss and his boss’ boss’ boss combined. (The head of Rancho Los Amigos made a little under $400,000, the head of the county’s health department made about $600,000 and a county supervisor made about $280,000.)

 

Namagerdy’s sky-high salary stems from a heavy workload amid a crushing shortage of doctors in parts of the county health system. A Times review of salary data found that Namagerdy worked hours far beyond what the county’s own policies allow — and beyond what experts consider safe.

Namagerdy, who graduated from the Iran University of Medical Sciences in 2000, was paid for working an average of 94 hours per week in 2023, according to salary records obtained by the Times. In both 2022 and 2021, he was paid for an average of more than 101 hours a week.

If he worked five days a week, that would average out to 19 hours a day last year and about 20 hours a day in the two prior years.

“As you probably know, there are 168 hours in a week,” said patient safety expert David Bates, professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health. “No one can can work that much and do it safely.”

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©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at latimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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