/ Last Modified October 1, 2012

State Fines Prison Health Care Provider $10K

Hepatitis scare, wasting resources, improperly dispensed meds cited

By The Associated Press

A company that just took over health care for Arizona prison inmates has been fined $10,000 by the Arizona Department of Corrections and is also accused of improperly dispensing medicine and wasting state resources.

Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources Inc., took over inmate care July 1 after winning a $349 million, three-year contract. The Arizona Republic reports that Wexford was hired after the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature pushed to privatize inmate health care to save money.

But a series of problems quickly developed, including a nurse causing a hepatitis scare and many cases of prisoners not receiving their medication.

The company plans to appeal the fine in the hepatitis case.

The company contends the health care conditions in the state prison system were poor and existed prior to privatization.

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