The Delaware Department of Correction has signed contracts with three vendors to provide health care to state prisoners.
The Delaware Department of Correction has signed contracts with three vendors to provide health care to state prisoners. The three companies will replace Correctional Medical Services (CMS), which had handled all prison health care since 2005.
During that time, the quality of care provided by CMS was the subject of much controversy and accusations that inmates were not being properly cared for. The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into the allegations that resulted in the state agreeing to a series of improvements of medical care for patients.
The two year contracts for care total more $40.5 million and are divided among three companies. Correct Care Solutions will get $29.8 million for general health care services, MHM Services will get $10 million to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment, and Correct Rx Pharmacy Services will get $700,000 to provide pharmacy needs for inmates. DOC Commissioner Carl Danberg says splitting the medical services contract three ways drew more interest from more providers, increasing competition among companies. “It certainly gave us more choice, and I also believe that competition works both for the state’s favor and for the ultimate consumer, the inmates who need the services.” Danberg says the vendors were forced to put together a better proposal at a better price.
As for the health care problems that plagued the state’s prisons during much of the past decade, Danberg says that’s now in the past. “We are confident that that situation has turned around,” says Danberg. “We expect that under the new contract model, that progress will continue until the Department of Correction is no longer under an agreement with the United States Department of Justice, and the progress that we have made can be sustained going forward.”
The Department of Correction is still negotiating with local providers who will provide dental care for inmates.