Private firm promises to save millions by taking over health care at prisons

Source: Mark Hollis, Sun Sentinel (FL), January 10, 2006

Health care for inmates in all South Florida state prisons is being turned over this month to a national firm that promises to save the state millions of dollars a year. Gov. Jeb Bush’s administration is touting the boon to taxpayers that comes with putting Nashville-based Prison Health Services in charge of caring for more than 14,000 inmates in 13 prisons in southern Florida, including those in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Some legislators are wary, in part because Prison Health’s bid for the work was tens of millions of dollars lower than its nearest rival bidders. They worry the company will take shortcuts that could bring unnecessary health risks to the prisons, and hidden costs like inmate lawsuits.