Allegheny County controller will audit jail medical provider's contract

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Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner announced today that she plans to conduct an audit of the contract between the county and Corizon Health Inc., which was hired last year to run the infirmary at the Allegheny County Jail.

Earlier this month, Ms. Wagner sent a letter to the CEO of Tennessee-based Corizon, saying she had “grave and serious concerns” about health care and working conditions at the jail.

In a statement from her office today, she said she remains concerned.

“I remain gravely concerned by the credible reports our office has received regarding substandard care at the jail,” she said in a statement. “I’ve raised these concerns publicly, including at the Jail Advisory Board and in writing to Corizon. Yet, the responses to my questions have likewise been substandard and certainly not what I would expect from an entity that receives more than $11 million in taxpayer money annually.”

Corizon, which is a national prison health care provider, signed a contract with the county last summer that pays $11.5 million for the first year. Its management of health services at the jail began Sept. 1.

The audit will cover the period from Sept. 1 through today.

“We have received the letter indicating the Controller wants to conduct an audit," said Corizon spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern. ."It’s important to note that we are working in close partnership with the county and jail leadership to fulfill our mission. Our focus remains on supporting our staff who provide quality care to patients in the jail every day.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said his office welcome's the audit.

"We welcome audits of any department that result in recommendations that add value, are measurable and improve our county operations," county spokeswoman Amie Downs said in a statement. "This contract just was entered into in September of 2013, so it may be difficult to measure its compliance with such a short window being available for review, but we look forward to the results."

Kaitlynn Riely: or 412-263-1707. First Published February 28, 2014 2:03 PM

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