Tag Archives: corizon

Legislators criticize prison medical contract

A legislative watchdog group agreed Monday to delve deeper into the state Department of Correction’s awarding of a $200 million-plus contract to handle inmate health care to a relative newcomer despite its $6.4 million higher bid, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Fiscal Review Committee members want the winner of the contract, Centurion LLC, to come before the panel in September.
Correction Department officials went before Fiscal Review for approval of their request to extend the current contract of Brentwood, Tenn.-based Corizon until Sept. 30 to provide Centurion additional time to prepare taking over the service.
While the business at hand was the 90-day extension of Corizon’s existing contract, committee members devoted most of their time questioning Centurion’s winning of the new three-year contract.
Corizon, which had the existing contract, lost the competition to Centurion on the new three-year contract. Corizon protested but two state panels upheld the award to Centurion, the most recent coming in a June 6 ruling.
Recently, Correction Department officials said, Corizon indicated it would not push the protest further by going to court.
Lawmakers criticized the request-for-proposal process and raised concerns about the higher cost and what they see as the recently created Centurion’s relative lack of experience.
Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan, said it raises “red flags” for him.
“Give me some reasons why you decided to spend $6.4 million more,” he told Wes Landers, chief financial officer for the Correction Department.
Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, was highly critical of Centurion’s experience.
“That seems a little shady there,” Faison said, adding that the state either had standards or not in awarding points in the request-for-proposal process for experience.
In remarks both during the committee and afterward, Wes Landers, the Correction Department’s chief financial officer, defended the decision to go with Centurion.

Multi-Million Corrections Contract Awarded to Company Employing Correction Commissioner’s Wife

Two companies are battling for a $200 million-plus contract to provide health care to Tennessee’s prison inmates, reports The Tennessean, and one of them employs the state correction commissioner’s wife.
One came in almost $16 million cheaper and has a long but controversial history of providing those services. The second, more expensive company has struggled to explain how it has enough experience to do the job. It also happens to employ the wife of the head of the Tennessee Department of Correction.
The second company, called Centurion, won.
Department of Correction Commissioner Derrick Schofield’s wife, Latrese, works for the company as an inmate re-entry coordinator in Georgia. But that fact was never disclosed in Centurion’s bid, nor was it mentioned at a protest hearing by the losing bidder last week, whose executives were confused about losing out on a job they had already been doing for more than two years.
Only two companies submitted bids, Centurion and Corizon. Corizon’s bid came in at about $226 million while Centurion came in at about $241 million.
The Department of Correction maintains that there is no conflict and that Derrick Schofield recused himself from having any say in the awarding of the contract.
“We’re confident that the process was appropriate and fair and resulted in the selection of the best-qualified bidder,” said TDOC spokeswoman Dorinda Carter. “Ms. Schofield is not in a position of making decisions regarding the contract and she’s not an executive-level employee.”
Derrick Schofield has disclosed his wife’s employment on ethics disclosures for the past three years. He declined to respond for this story through the agency spokeswoman.
…The losing bidder, Brentwood-based Corizon, had held the $219 million contract since 2010, handling health care services for the state’s prison inmates. The company handles mental health care for Tennessee inmates as well.
But Corizon in recent years has been dogged by accusations of poor inmate health care, particularly after a Kentucky inmate died while under the company’s care….In Tennessee, Corizon also was docked millions in penalties over the past few years for at times not meeting all the standards of the contract.
Even still, the state’s Fiscal Review Committee in November voted to extend its contract an additional six months.
By that time, the state had already put out a request for proposals a new contract that would run through 2015.
Corizon is protesting the contract award, arguing that Centurion doesn’t have the five years of experience the state required in its request for proposals.
Centurion, a company that was formed just last year, is made up of two other companies, Virginia-based MHM Services Inc. and St. Louis-based Centene Corp. While MHM has handled inmate health care services for years, the closest it comes to handling an entire prison system of Tennessee’s size was handling health care services for Florida’s prison system. But it held that contract for only three years.
Despite that possible problem, TDOC evaluators gave Centurion perfect marks when evaluating how it meets the contract’s experience requirements.
Latrese Schofield has been employed by MHM since 2005.