Florida state prisons health service provider retools amid a struggle

Source: Arek Sarkissian, Gainesville Sun, July 6, 2015

A company that provides health care services for state prisons throughout North Florida has replaced two of its top-level managers in Florida as it fights to save its nearly $1.2 billion relationship with the Florida Department of Corrections. In mid-June, St. Louis-based Corizon Health Care appointed its southeast chief executive officer, JM Courtney, as interim replacement for John Dallas, who was relieved of his role as vice president overseeing the DOC contract. … The new leaders were brought in after Corizon was fined $67,500 by the DOC in May for failing a series of performance audits conducted over the past year. The problems ranged from improperly filing paperwork to distributing psychotropic drugs to inmates without evaluations….
Related:
Florida’s Secretary for Corrections Writes Corizon about Health Care
Source: Correctional Health Care Report, Vol. 16 no. 2, January/February 2015
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From the abstract:
Michael D. Crews’ letter of bitter complaint about the level of health care in Florida’s prisons and an explicit threat tied to withholding payments to the health care provider, Corizon, LLC.
Related:
Florida’s New Prison Boss Vows to Change the Culture
Source: Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald, January 21, 2015

In an unprecedented moment of candor, Florida’s newly installed prisons chief told a Senate committee that private contractors have provided inadequate medical care to Florida’s inmates while crumbling infrastructure and years of staffing cuts have fostered “culture” problems in the massive agency. … The Palm Beach Post has reported in-depth on deaths linked to the quality of medical care provided by Corizon and Wexford, the companies that have lucrative contracts with the DOC….

Profiting from prison: the challenges of inmate care by the private sector
Source: Adam Geller, Associated Press, January 19, 2015

Months after he landed in Florida’s Manatee County Jail, Jovon Frazier’s pleas for treatment of intense pain in his left shoulder were met mostly with Tylenol …. As an inmate, his medical care had been managed not by the county sheriff’s office that runs the jail, but by a private company under contract. That company, Corizon Health Inc., is under growing pressure after losing five state prison contracts, downgrades by analysts and increasing scrutiny of its care of inmates held by some of its largest customers, including New York City. Corizon, responsible for 345,000 inmates in 27 states, is the country’s biggest for-profit correctional health provider, but is just one of many firms vying for billions of public dollars spent on prisoner care.

Company’s struggles highlight challenges of inmate care
Source: KTAR, January 16, 2015

Months after he landed in Florida’s Manatee County Jail, Jovon Frazier’s pleas for treatment of the intense pain that radiated from his left shoulder to his elbow were met mostly with Tylenol. ….Four months later, after Frazier’s 13th request resulted in hospitalization and doctors quickly diagnosed bone cancer, his arm had to be amputated, according to a lawsuit filed by his family. But the cancer spread and Frazier died in 2011, months after his release. As an inmate, his medical care had been managed not by the county sheriff’s office that runs the jail, but by a private company under contract. That company, Corizon Health Inc., is under growing pressure around the country after losing five state prison contracts, downgrades by credit analysts and increased scrutiny of care of inmates held by some of its largest customers, including New York City. But Corizon, whose responsibility for 345,000 inmates at prisons and jails in 27 states makes it the country’s biggest for-profit correctional health provider, is just one of many firms using a similar model to vie for the billions of dollars states and counties spend on prisoner care….

…Corizon’s handling of health care for the 11,000 inmates at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex is under “comprehensive review” by officials, who say they are concerned about problems including at least 16 deaths since 2009 and are looking into the possibility of replacing the firm with a teaching hospital or a city-run agency. A year after Florida privatized medical care in its state prisons and awarded Corizon with a $1.2 billion contract, news reports point to rising inmate deaths. If the company does not address substandard care, the state’s corrections commissioner wrote to Corizon’s CEO in a September letter, Florida may begin withholding payment. In Arizona, where Corizon was hired last year to replace the second largest provider, Wexford Health Sources Inc., after its management of inmate care came under fire, an advocacy group citing a rising number of deaths warned that “if anything, things have gotten worse” under the new contractor. The state recently settled a lawsuit by the ACLU that calls for stepped up monitoring of inmate medical treatment….