The Minnesota Department of Corrections has hired a new firm to oversee medical care in state prisons, severing a 15-year relationship with a corporation that became the target of lawsuits and staff complaints alleging substandard care, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Since 2000, under Corizon Health Inc., the state prison system has had at least nine inmate deaths and numerous injuries related to poor and delayed care.
Although Corizon was the lowest of three bidders, the department said it has signed a two-year contract with Centurion Managed Care, a national health care company that claims will provide innovative approaches to preventive and mental health care for the state's 9,000 inmates. The contract is worth $67 million and takes effect Jan. 1. Corizon's bid was $115,600 below Centurion's. Centurion is owned by Centene Corp., a publicly traded company based in St. Louis. Earlier this year, Centurion signed contracts to manage prison medical systems in Tennessee and Massachusetts.