Corizon, controversial prison health provider, walks away from Florida contract

Corizon, which has drawn heat for its prison health services, is walking away from $1.2 billion state contract

Corizon, which has drawn heat for its prison health services, is walking away from $1.2 billion state contract

Embattled Corizon Health on Monday terminated its $1.2 billion contract to provide health services in more than 150 Florida prisons and corrections facilities across the northern and central parts of the state.

The company is facing a federal class-action lawsuit from inmates over the quality of care they received. Corizon also has been fined almost $70,000 for failing to meet standards set by the state.

The five-year contract with Tennessee-based Corizon began in 2013, with a similar contract for the state’s southern tier of prisons also launched then with Wexford Health Sources. Wexford’s contract is worth $240 million.

In the breakup, Corizon said it will end its contract in 180 days. Corizon broke the news Monday in a meeting with Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones.

“In the coming months, Secretary Jones will work closely with the Department’s Office of Health Services to ensure that the appropriate staff and resources are available at our facilities to continue seamless delivery of appropriate medical care to our inmate population,” DOC said in a statement.

“While Corizon has terminated its contract with the Department of Corrections, we will continue our partnership with Wexford Health Sources and will work closely with their leadership throughout this process,” the department added.

A Palm Beach Post series has cited wholesale flaws in inmate health care – much of it involving the state’s private contractors. The Post also has reported that inmate death reports weren’t regularly submitted to the state by the private companies and medical exams showing whether inmates were injured by guards were missing in 2013 and 2014.

With scrutiny of DOC and its contracted health services heightening, Jones earlier this year said she planned to reopen bidding for prison contracts before the start of 2016.

In its letter to Jones, Corizon’s CEO, Karey Witty, offered no insight into why it was walking away from Florida. But Witty did say efforts would be attempted to assure a smooth transition.

“In the interest of continuity of patient care and stability of operations, we look forward to convening with your Health Services and other staff to begin the planning of a transition schedule,” Witty wrote. “We also seek to mitigate employee concerns regarding their future employment, to create a stable environment for safe and effective clinical care for the patients during this changeover.”

 

 

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