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New Arizona prison health care provider promises improvements

Arizona prison inmates
Posted at 7:35 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 23:02:37-04

A new company is taking over inmate health care services in Arizona prisons, which could be a turning point after a long and costly lawsuit.

The new company, Centurion, replaces Corizon in ten state-run prison complexes. The Arizona Department of Corrections has been embroiled in a 7-year-long, class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit claims poor prison medical services led to inmates' deaths and preventable injuries.

"They are not serving life without parole," said Corene Kendrick, an attorney for the inmates. "We want them to come back to the community healthier in both body and mind than when they came into prison, hopefully, to reduce recidivism."

Centurion promises to provide timely appointments with medical specialists and to fill prescriptions on time. Its parent company, Centene, also contracts with the Arizona Medicaid program, AHCCCS, and promises to provide a better transition in health care services to people upon their release from prison.

"ADC has been in daily, continuous communication with both companies to help ensure a successful and seamless transition of care," a Corrections spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

According to the department, Centurion will use the existing health records system, and inmate access to specialty care providers should be unaffected by the transition. Current healthcare employees have been informed about hiring and/or retention opportunities with the new company.