Alabama prisons pick new inmate health care provider
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Department of Corrections, for the second time this year, has picked a Tennessee-based company to provide health care services at its 27 facilities.
YesCare Corp., based in Brentwood, Tennessee, was chosen over three other companies that submitted proposals. The department said it would negotiate with YesCare and release information about the contract once it is final. The four-and-a-half-year contract is scheduled to take effect April 1, al.com reported.
The department had issued a request for proposals on Sept. 26. The other companies that submitted proposals were Centurion, Vital Core, and Wexford.
Wexford is the current provider and its employees who work in department facilities will be offered jobs with YesCare, corrections officials said.
Department commissioner John Hamm said YesCare was chosen based on a combination of quality, cost, and experience. YesCare has more than 40 years of correctional health care experience at more than 475 facilities across the country, the department said.
The department said in July that it had picked YesCare Corp. over four other companies but rescinded the decision and issued a new request for proposals. The agency did not give a specific reason for repeating the process, saying only that it was done “out of an abundance of caution.”
The quality of health care and mental health care for inmates is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates in 2014. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled in 2017 that the department’s mental health care was “horrendously inadequate.” The court is overseeing efforts by the state to increase staffing and make other changes to improve mental health care.
The case is separate but has overlapping issues with the Department of Justice lawsuit filed in 2020 alleging unconstitutional conditions in Alabama’s prisons for men.