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Judge Turns Down Challenge To Prison Health Contract

Stethoscope and gavel against a white backdrop.
Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

An administrative law judge has rejected a challenge to a Florida Department of Corrections decision to award a $268 million contract for health services at the majority of the state's prisons.

The department in January awarded the contract to Centurion of Florida LLC after another firm, Corizon Health, decided to end its contract to provide services to about three-fourths of the state's inmates.

The award of the contract drew a challenge from Wexford Health Sources, Inc., which provides services to inmates in the rest of the state. Wexford questioned, at least in part, whether the department acted properly in awarding a no-bid contract to Centurion.

The department, however, argued that state law allowed it to award such a contract and that Administrative Law Judge R. Bruce McKibben should "relinquish jurisdiction" of the dispute. McKibben issued an order last week siding with the department and closing the case at the Division of Administrative Hearings.

"Wexford's argument, though not without merit, is a matter for resolution by the Legislature," McKibben wrote.