The health care provider for the Indiana Department of Corrections has lost its contract with the state and plans to lay off nearly 700 employees by the end of the month.
Corizon Health, based in Brentwood, Tennessee, filed notice of the layoffs with the state’s Department of Workforce Development on Monday. It said that it was made aware on Feb. 22 of the decision by the IDOC not to renew its contract.
Corizon employs 699 workers in 22 locations across the state, according to the filing. Their employment will end on March 31, although some could be rehired by the new contractor.
After a bidding process for the services, IDOC chose Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources Inc. for the contract, according to department spokesman Ike Randolph.
Wexford told the IDOC that it would "meet [with] and accept applications from current Corizon employees to mitigate the impact to employees and to ensure a smooth transition," according to an official statement from the department.
Given the large number of positions that will need to be filled and the state’s desire for a quick and seamless transition, it’s likely that Wexford will hire many of the Corizon employees, Randolph said.
“The IDOC can’t guarantee each and every former Corizon employee will be hired. However, good employees certainly have the odds in their favor,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Wexford did not immediately respond Wednesday morning to a request for comment.
Corizon’s three-year contract was worth nearly $300 million, according to the South Bend Tribune. Since Jan. 1, 2014, when the most recent three-year contract took effect, Corizon has provided not only basic health care for prisoners, but also mental health, vision, dental, pharmacy and rehabilitation services.
It’s not unusual for the new contractor to hire employees of the former contractor, Corizon Human Resources Manager Christopher Heeg wrote in the notice to the state, “although there is no guarantee that it will do so.”
Corizon, the largest correctional medical company in the country, was the subject of an investigative series by the Tribune last year titled “Profits over Prisoners?” It noted a spike in the number of inmate medical complaints, questions about oversight and allegations that profit often took priority over critical health services for inmates.