CHIEF OF PSYCHIATRY (Under Review) (#PR7 )

Apply as a Transfer/Demotion applicant

$152.47-$176.45 hourly / $26,428.00-$30,584.00 monthly / $317,137.60-$367,016.00 yearly


Under general direction to provide medical and clinical leadership to the County's Community Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse Services, Mental Health Managed Care Program; supervise psychiatrists and other medical providers; provide direct psychiatric treatment; and to do other work as required. 

Distinguishing Characteristics

This single-position class reports to the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and is responsible for clinical/medical aspects of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services divisions of the Health Services Agency. The position includes coordination with others responsible for direct program administration using technical leadership skills to promote quality patient care. Some direct patient care may be included. This position differs from the class of Medical Director in that it requires specialized training in psychiatry. 

Typical Tasks

Participate with other administrators in planning, organizing and directing clinical care aspects of mental health and substance abuse programs. Participate in quality improvement activities, including but not limited to areas of specific medical practice. Participate in fair hearings and utilization review appeals. Promote best practices throughout all programs. Provide expert opinion on difficult cases and special case situations. Set medical policy, including practice standards and formulary, and participate in all policy areas related to patient care. Supervise assistant director(s), psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and assigned administrative aide, including hiring, work assignments, coverage issues, training and quality of work performed.  Provide input as needed in recruitment and selection of psychiatric staff as well as clinical oversight of any related medical/clinical contracts for services. Liaison with other medical practitioners, including hospitals, Medi-Cal managed care plans, and community practitioners. Participate with the Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in preparing, monitoring and controlling the pharmacy budget. Participate with the management team in budget and planning decisions, with special emphasis on clinical impacts. Consult on the administration of hospital placements and aftercare services. Insure that federal, state and local standards and regulations are effectively implemented in psychiatric care, documentation and quality assurance. Direct and evaluate the medical aspects of mental health programs. Evaluate medical policies, programs and procedures and develop improvements. Attend meetings and conferences. Prepare reports and correspondence.  Educate and act as a liaison with the general public and non-psychiatric healthcare providers on topics and issues related to mental health.  Be available by pager to address any urgent clinical or systems issues.

Employment Standards


Thorough knowledge of: 

  • Public mental health systems and working with disabled individuals.
  • The principles and practices of general and preventive psychiatry. 
  • Current developments in the field of psychiatry. 
  • Mental health services and organizations. 
  • Principles of supervision and personnel management. 
  • The uses and effects of medication in psychiatric and related conditions. 
  • Individual and group psychotherapy. 

Working knowledge of: 

  • Aims, concepts and services of local community mental health and substance abuse programs. 
  • The interrelationships of services provided by local public and private mental health agencies and organizations. 
  • The principles of the various mental health disciplines and clinical care. 
  • State and Federal mandates for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 
  • LPS conservatorship and social security disability processes and evaluations. 

Ability to: 

  • Plan, organize and direct the activities of the medical staff.
  • Consult with other clinical staff and managers as needed on treatment issues. 
  • Exercise initiative, ingenuity and sound judgment in solving difficult clinical problems, documentation and medical staff personnel problems.
  • Interpret and apply complex regulations, laws and directives. 
  • Express ideas effectively in oral and written form. 
  • Coordinate functions and maintain effective relationships with other divisions, departments, agencies and organizations. 
  • Understand and relate to others the aims, concepts and principles of mental health and substance abuse programs. 

Education and Experience: Any combination of training and experience that would provide the required knowledge and abilities as qualifying, subject to the following: 

Graduation from an approved medical school and satisfactory completion of a three year psychiatric residency approved by the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association; and five (5) years of experience in the field of public mental health or mental health administration.

Special Requirements/Conditions:

  • License Requirements:  
    • Possess and maintain a valid California class C driver license, or the ability to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority.       
    • Possession of a valid Physician’s and Surgeon's Certificate issued by the State of California. If licensed in another state, candidates may participate in the recruitment and examination process, however, possession of a valid Physician’s and Surgeon’s Certificate issued by the State of California is required at the time of appointment.       
    • Possession of a State and/or Federal narcotic license for the administration of narcotics.
  • Background Investigation: Fingerprinting. 
  • Other Special Requirements: Availability to work a flexible schedule including evenings, weekends and holidays. Physically and mentally capable of performing the position’s essential functions as summarized in the typical tasks section of this specification. 


PREVIOUS CLASS TITLES: Program Chief-Mental Health Services, Director of Mental Health-MD, Psychiatric Medical Director 
Bargaining Unit: 06 
EEOC Job Category: 01 
Occupational Grouping: 61 
Workers' Comp Code: 0290
Analyst: PT/CE/DTW/CJS
Revised Date(s): 11/00, 9/03, 5/07 

CLASS: PR7; EST: 4/1/1988; REV: 10/1/2007;