The Mohave Valley Daily News in Arizona reports that Wexford Health Sources Inc., which took over heath care for prisons in Arizona in July, has already been fined for doing a crappy job—not distributing medication properly (in some cases, not distributing it at all), a nurse who contaminated a vial of insulin and potentially exposed around 100 inmates to hepatitis C, and more:
In the state cure letter, a series of problems were noted. They included a Wexford nurse administering medication to an inmate by having the inmate “lick the powdered medication from her own hand,” instead of putting the medication in a small cup of water.
Other problems included a significant number of inmates not receiving medication. One of those was a Florence inmate who was found hanging in his cell Aug. 23 after not getting his psychotropic medication for the entire month. The letter does not state if the inmate died.
The state said Wexford showed a “lack of urgency” to correct the medication problems, and the state had to deploy staff “to identify inmates in need of medication renewals.”
The issues raised by Evelyn [a former commander in the Clark County Sheriff's Department], as well as the county’s report, are echoed in recent lawsuits against Wexler filed this past summer in New Mexico.
Evelyn’s laundry list of Wexford’s contract violations included the lack of any operating manual or written procedures; inadequate staffing and medical supplies; inadequate training and oversight for medical employees; delays in providing medicine and services to chronically-ill inmates; promotion of workers into positions where they were not properly licensed, and even a refusal by some mental health counselors to provide services to inmates they “didn’t like.”
A Clark County audit later found similar problems with Wexford Health Sources. And here's a kicker: Recent cost studies have shown that Arizona's private prisons are costing the state $3.5 million more per year than the equivalent state-run units in Arizona.