State recontracts prisoner health care

LANSING — The state selected a new vendor, Prison Health Services, for management of the health services for its prisons, the Michigan Information & Research Service reports. The contract expires March 31, 2012, and will pay the company $326 million, according to the state's Web site.

Prisoner health care had been provided by Correctional Medical Services since 1998. That company was selected after the state's previous vendor did not provide the performance it promised.

A December 2007 report by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care made 54 recommendations to improve Michigan's services. The new contract reflects those recommendations, and the company will be held responsible for maintaining NCCHC standards.

Michigan is not alone in contracting for inmate health services. In 2004, the Mackinac Center found that 32 states contracted with private firms to provide these health services.

References: "Choice of prison health company angers some," The Grand Rapids Press, Dec. 23, 2008

"DOC Changes Health Care Provider," Michigan Information & Research Service, Feb. 10, 2009

"Privatization for the Health of It," Michigan Privatization Report, December 2004