Source: Dara Kam, Gainesville Sun, February 2, 2016
State corrections officials have hired Centurion of Florida LLC to take over prison health services for more than three-fourths of Florida’s 100,000 inmates after Corizon Health walked away from a five-year, $1.2 billion contract three years early. Centurion, a joint venture between Centene Corp. and MHM Services, will be paid a maximum of nearly $268 million to fill in for Corizon, which exercised a 180-day cancellation provision in its contract with the state. …
Editorial: State needs to reverse privatization of prison health care
Source: Palm Beach Post, December 7, 2015
The withdrawal of Corizon Health from its nearly $1.2 billion contract to provide medical services to most of Florida’s prison inmates — after a new inspection that details yet more examples of serious neglect — underscores the folly of a state government contracting with for-profit companies to deliver basic human services on the cheap. … Inmate death reports weren’t regularly submitted to the state, and medical exams showing whether inmates were injured by guards were missing in 2013 and 2014, The Post also reported. … Inmates may not be entitled to “Cadillac” health care, but the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled they are entitled to adequate care. What we have seen from Corizon, under this contract, is far less than adequate. A year ago, we urged the DOC to scrap its failed experiment with privatization. Amid this crisis, that may not be practical. Once Corizon makes its premature departure, in fact, it’s not clear how the state will provide care during the year that it will take to complete another bidding process.
After Corizon’s Contract Cancellation, What Happens To Prison Health Employees?
Source: SASCHA CORDNER, WFSU, December 4, 2015
Still, some unions already have an answer to that particular question: transfer those Corizon employees back into state employment. Worried about the loss of thousands of state employee jobs, AFSCME and the Florida Nursing Association were part of a lawsuit to stop the state from privatizing prison health care services. The unions lost, and while Corizon and Wexford employed many, there were still hundreds of layoffs as well as others moving to work for other state agencies. …
Corizon pulls out of prison health care contract, leaving future of privatization in limbo
Source: Mary Ellen Klas, Tampa Bay Times, November 30, 2015
After two years of complaints about healthcare in Florida’s prisons, the private company that has been responsible for the largest share of inmate care — Corizon Health — decided not to renew its $1.1 billion contract with the state Monday, leaving the future of care for 74,000 inmates in limbo when the company pulls out in six months. The decision by the Tennessee-based company to exercise its right to terminate the contract that was scheduled to expire in 2018 came as the Florida Department of Corrections was attempting to renegotiate the agreement amid reports of inmate maltreatment, chronic understaffing and rising numbers of unnatural inmate deaths.
Post investigation: Prisoners dying for care – Privatizing prison health care leaves inmates in pain, sometimes dying
Source: Pat Beall, Palm Beach Post, September 26, 2014
Just months after all medical care in state prisons was privatized, the count of inmate deaths spiked to a 10-year high… Handing off prison inmate medical care to for-profit companies was designed to deliver tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer savings beginning in 2012. But for inmates, it has come with cold-blooded consequences, a Palm Beach Post investigation found. Just months after all medical care in state prisons was privatized, the count of inmate deaths spiked to a 10-year high in January and continued at a record pace through July. Doctors have expressed alarm. The number of seriously ill prisoners sent for outside hospital care is on track to drop by 47 percent from 2012, the last year for which the state handled medical care. Inmates say prescription painkillers are abruptly replaced with over-the-counter drugs such as ibuprofen. Pickelsimer’s undiagnosed lung cancer was treated with Tylenol and warm compresses…. In 2012, the state inked inmate health care contracts totaling $1.3 billion with two companies: Wexford Health Sources for care at nine major prisons and Corizon Inc. for approximately 44. In addition, the companies care for inmates at prison annexes, work release centers and two centers for new inmates — roughly 100,000 prisoners in all….
Privatized prison health care is worse than you thought
Source: Billy Manes, Orlando Weekly, October 9, 2013
Until now, we could all be comfortable with our blue-sky or black-cloud extrapolations on the merits of privatizing prison health care, something the state achieved this year with two five-year health-provider contracts with a total worth of $1.4 billion. Yeah, we knew that thousands of public employees would lose their jobs, but the companies – Corizon and Wexford Health Sources – told us with a sparkle in their eye that those employees would surely be sucked up into the free market. All would settle back down. You wouldn’t notice a thing.
What we didn’t quite know, and apparently weren’t supposed to know, is that Corizon has been sued for malpractice 660 times in the last five years; Wexford has faced an alarming 1,092 malpractice complaints in the same period. Both have had to pay out substantial claims after being found guilty either by settlement or jury.
According to an alarming investigation by watchdog site the Broward Bulldog, both Corizon and Wexford were exempted from disclosing any of their litigious histories during the vetting process for their contracts, even though it’s pretty typical for state contractors to undergo these fairly obvious background checks….