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City Will Not Renew Corizon Contracts For Rikers Health Care: Sources

By Rosa Goldensohn | June 1, 2015 12:02pm | Updated on June 1, 2015 12:29pm
 Dr. Jay Cowan and Dr. Calvin Johnson testified on behalf of Corizon.
Dr. Jay Cowan and Dr. Calvin Johnson testified on behalf of Corizon.
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DNAinfo/Rosa Goldensohn

NEW YORK CITY — A for-profit company that provides health care at Rikers Island will soon lose its contract with the city, sources said.

Corizon, the Tennessee-based company, will not have its contracts renewed, sources say. The company, which has run health care in the city's jails since 2001, has been blamed for the preventable deaths of at least a dozen inmates and had its care called "incompetent" multiple times by the state.

The city's public Health and Hospitals Corporation will take over providing health care for inmates, according to a source, though officials are now working to see how quickly the agency can take over after Corizon's deal with the city is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2015.

Corizon holds three city contracts worth more than $400 million: a $270 million contract for medical services, a $126 million contract for administrative services, and $8.98 million for dental care. 

DNAinfo first reported on medical deaths blamed on Corizon.

At least four inmates died from questionable medical care in 2014. There have been at least a dozen such cases since 2009 in addition to at least nine suicides attributed to inadequate mental health care, which Corizon also provides. 

In the case of one mentally ill inmate who died after being locked in his cell for six days without care or medication, a state panel ruled Corizon's treatment "so incompetent and inadequate as to shock the conscience," according to the Associated Press.

City councilman Corey Johnson held a hearing in March to question the provider. At that hearing, health department official Dr. Sonia Angell said the department was meeting to consider alternatives to Corizon, including HHC.

The mayor's office denied that a final decision had been reached, but confirmed that the contract had been under review. “As the Mayor has said, this administration is taking a hard look at the Corizon contract with DOHMH, which ends this year," spokeswoman Monica Klein said in a statement. "DOC is always looking to provide the best healthcare in the jail.”

Corizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.