Corizon Cancels Virginia Contract, Armor Steps In

RICHMOND, Va. — Corizon Health of Brentwood, Tenn. will terminate its contract with the Virginia Department of Corrections effective Sept. 30. The correctional health care provider entered into its contract with the state in May 2013, and announced that contract’s termination in June 2014. The company has also filed a motion to halt a lawsuit brought by the Charlottesville Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC), alleging it failed to provide constitutionally adequate medical care.

Corizon’s original two-year, $76.5 million contract provided for five optional one-year extensions, and was awarded through a competitive bid process. The firm delivered medical, mental health, pharmacy and support services to some 15,000 inmates in 17 facilities across the state.

Though the company has not given a specific reason for cancelling the contract, CEO Woodrow A. Myers said in a statement, “While Corizon and the DOC have worked diligently to resolve concerns in a number of areas since the implementation of the Contract, we have not made adequate progress regarding the provision of Utilization Management services and use of an alternative, more cost effective provider than Virginia Commonwealth University Health System.”

The state has once again partnered with Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. of Miami, also a defendant in the lawsuit, on an interim basis. The firm was underbid by roughly $17 million by Corizon during the previous bid cycle, and initially ended their contract in April 2013. According to Armor, the firm signed an emergency contract with the Virginia Department of Corrections on June 23, and will begin providing health care services to state inmates on Oct. 1

Armor first began its contract with the state in 2006, providing services to three sites. Five additional sites were added in 2011, and one was added in 2012. In a statement, the company says their tenure with the state “enhanced onsite services, decreased offsite utilization, and consistently assured quality patient care.”

Currently, both Corizon and Armor, as well as several state correctional officials, are still named as defendants in the suit, despite requests to be removed. The LAJC suit claims the contractors’ medical staff consistently neglected inmates’ medical conditions such as cancer, ulcers, severe pain and diabetes, and that medication, treatment and medical accommodation requests often went ignored. According to the suit, this directly contributed to several inmate deaths.

Though the plaintiffs are not seeking financial compensation, the LAJC is seeking a court order that would require the state’s prison health care provider to improve their services. The suit was first filed during Armor’s previous contract in July 2012, and Corizon was added as defendant in the summer of 2013 after the LAJC determined the medical provider had not taken any immediate steps to reform the quality of health care being provided. The case is currently scheduled for a jury trial at the end of September.