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Prisons will move forward with health outsourcing

The Florida Department of Corrections said Tuesday it will move ahead with plans to privatize all health care for the nation's third-largest prison system, even after a stalemate in court and the expiration of legislative budget language that authorized the sweeping change.

Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker issued a late-afternoon statement calling the decision "best for the Department and taxpayers." "This step will allow us to provide the same services we currently havem which meet state and federal standards, while saving money for the taxpayers."

The action could trigger a new round of litigation by a labor union that represents nurses who work in the system.

The Legislature last year ordered the agency to privatize all health care as a money-saving move, by inserting budget language known as proviso and requiring a savings of at least 7 percent over 2010 costs. In April, Tucker announced a decision to tentatively award contracts to Corizon Health in most of the state and Wexford Health Sources in South Florida. Two unions filed a lawsuit. A state judge in Tallahassee did not rule in the case before the fiscal year ended on June 30, and the proposal also required approval by the Legislative Budget Commission, which never took action on it.

Florida has more than 100,000 inmates in its prisons. This would be the most extensive single privatization venture ever undertaken by a state prison system in the U.S. Attorneys for the state contend that privatization can be done by the agency without a legislative mandate.

"Change isn't easy, and we know sometimes it can be unsettling," Tucker said. "However, the hard work of our employees is greatly appreciated and recognized."

--Steve Bousquet


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Just why should the taxpayers pay more to give health care to inmates than absolutely necessary?

Oh, that's right, the government workers union bosses' need to keep getting paid their cut of our money.


Same mistake being repeated by DOC privatizing health services. History has proven private vendors did a terrible job and ended up costing the state hundreds of millions last time the prisons had private vendors running health services. Obviously Rick Scott and his buddies have a stacked deck so they are getting their way and the management of DOC has to abide by Herr Scott so here we go again making a collosal mistake for the benefit of rewarding corporations and friends of the republicans. Voters and taxpayers never learn that these companies cheat the state and must generate a profit. Only in Florida do we have the most corrupt system and no controls in place. Herr to the Great State of Florida, a state run like a dictatorship.


No actually a dictatorship would have gov ran healthcare, not free market private owned healthcare. You my friend have it backwards.
Liberal per chance?


Vicky, you do not know what you are saying or understand the system. DonaldJ has it correct, everything he said is right on.


This American prisoner is one of the lucky person in the world. Some country who are free do not have their own health program.

Lisa Irene

That comment is complete errelavant. We have more people in prison that any country in the world. Maybe that is because it is to profitable. California prisons are privitized it costs $70k per year per prison. Making their prison system the most expenise of any state, breaking their budget. But as long as the 1% are making their money the sheep will always suport them waiting for trickly down....

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