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Prison Health Changes Begin Taking Effect

Prison corridor with inmates in distance
Associated Press
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

A new prison health contractor started moving into nine North Florida facilities over the weekend, an initial step toward providing care for more than 80,000 inmates, the state Department of Corrections said Friday.

Centurion of Florida started what the department described as an "initial transition" into Holmes Correctional Institution, Gulf Correctional Institution, Liberty Correctional Institution, Madison Correctional Institution, Cross City Correctional Institution, Lake Correctional Institution, the Quincy Annex, the Mayo Annex and the Gadsden Re-Entry Center.

The department in January awarded a contract to Centurion of Florida after another firm, Corizon Health, decided to end its contract to provide services to about three-fourths of the state's inmates. Centurion of Florida will move into 32 other facilities by May 31, the department said.

The award of the contract drew a challenge from Wexford Health Sources, Inc., which provides services to inmates in the rest of the state. But an administrative law judge this month rejected the Wexford challenge.

“Since entering into a contract for comprehensive health care services in January, the department and Centurion have worked collaboratively to ensure proper staffing, the availability of medical resources and a seamless delivery of medical care and services during this transition period,'' Corrections Secretary Julie Jones said in a prepared statement Friday. "I am confident that Centurion will produce positive, patient-centered health outcomes for the more than 80,000 inmates under their care."