Prison health contract under scrutiny

Department of Corrections Secretary Julie Jones is under fire for signing a $268 million, no-bid contract for prison health services after one of the state’s two vendors walked away from a five-year, $1.2 billion deal three years early.

Jones signed the new contract with Centurion of Florida LLC in January, a little more than a month after Corizon Health exercised a 180-day cancellation provision in its contract with the state. Corizon Health, which handles care for more than three-fourths of Florida’s 100,000 inmates, will continue to operate health services for prisoners until the end of May.

But Wexford Health Sources, which provides health care for about 18,000 prisoners in the southern portion of the state and wanted the temporary contract, is questioning Jones’ handling of the agreement with Centurion.

Wexford is criticizing the terms of the “cost plus management fee” contract, in which the state has agreed to pay Centurion a 13.5 percent fee for administrative and overhead costs — an amount that could exceed $31 million — on top of the company’s actual costs.

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