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Committee OKs contract renewal with prison health provider Wexford Health Services

The $117,800,000 contract is for roughly six months until the ADOC can develop and release a new competitive RFP process.

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The Alabama Legislature’s joint Contract Review Committee allowed a short-time contract renewal with Wexford Health Services, the Alabama Department of Corrections’ primary healthcare services provider and a company that has continually failed to meet court-mandated levels of mental health care staff for each state prison, to go through unchallenged during their meeting on Thursday.

The $117,800,000 contract is for roughly six months until the ADOC can develop and release a new competitive RFP process, according to a copy of the ADOC.

The contract was passed without comment or question from the committee on Thursday. The committee does not have the power to strike off a contract brought forward for review, but may delay or hold-off its approval. 

The committee also approved a $7.1 million renewal contract for one year with Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham which provides for incarcerated individuals “whose mental health needs extend beyond the capabilities of the ADOC within its facilities,” according to the spokesperson.

Wexford has had a controversial history in the state, having time and time again failed to reach sufficient levels of mental health care staff in every one of the ADOC’s facilities.

During the contract review process of 2018, the committee delayed final approval of the state’s contract with Wexford after allegations of involvement in a bribery case with the state of Mississippi’s Department of Corrections came to light.

The 2018 contract was ultimately approved by state officials, and Wexford later paid $4 million to the state of Mississippi for its involvement in the bribery case.

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In late June, the ADOC announced that it had awarded Tennessee-based YesCare Corporation with a contract to provide medical and mental health services for its correctional system. However, later in August, the ADOC withdrew from the agreement — which was scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 — with an ADOC attorney stating in a letter on Aug. 3 that the department plans to reissue the RFP sometime in the future.

The ADOC has yet to provide a reason behind withdrawing from the agreement with YesCare.

At the time of publication, the ADOC has not responded to requests for comments regarding the contract renewal with Wexford or when they plan to open up the competitive bidding process to other health service providers.

If this contract renewal reaches final approval, Wexford would have received $842,339,355 over the last several years that they’ve provided healthcare services to the ADOC.

John is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can contact him at [email protected] or via Twitter.

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