AZ prisons severs ties with healthcare contractor - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

AZ prisons severs ties with healthcare contractor

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Arizona Dept. of Corrections Arizona Dept. of Corrections

The Arizona Department of Corrections said in a court filing Wednesday it has reached an agreement with Wexford Health Sources, its current medical services contractor, to terminate the contract.

"Corizon, Inc. will immediately transition into the health care provider for all state-run prison facilities," the DOC said. Corizon will take over on March 4, 2013.

DOC has blasted Wexford in the past, alleging some of the inmates weren't getting their medication, were being exposed to hepatitis C and maintained one inmate even committed suicide - all under Wexford's watch. [Related: Inmate family speaks about healthcare problems]

Wexford was contracted by the DOC in July to care for the inmates.

Wexford said its contract performance was hindered by, among other things, a lack of cooperation from ADC.

The company also believes that the ADC "failed to disclose certain material items during the procurement process, as well as hindered Wexford's ability to hire certain qualified employees who were previously engaged in ADC's delivery of medical services to the inmates prior to the current contract," the DOC outlined in a statement. 

ACLU of Arizona Legal Director Daniel Pochoda issued the following statement:

"There's no question that over the past year Wexford has been providing abysmal care to Arizona prisoners with serious medical and mental health needs. Through our existing litigation against ADOC, we've documented deteriorating medical conditions that have caused prolonged suffering for thousands of inmates and likely resulted in unnecessary deaths.  

"Merely replacing one for-profit prison contractor with another will only prolong the crisis in Arizona's prisons. There is no reason to think that anything will change under Corizon Inc. When saving moneyš is the stated legislative and executive priority, prisoners are guaranteed to encounter the same problems, including the documented inadequate staffing levels and failures to administer medical and mental health care in a timely manner."

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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