Kay Ivey signs controversial contract with prison health care provider

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Gov. Kay Ivey has signed a controversial contract with for prison medical and mental health services for  the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) — with a company that is involved in a bribery case in neighboring Mississippi.

The company, Wexford Health, was named in a suit brought forth by the Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to recoup funds and damages related to bribery charges that sent the former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner, Chris Epps, to jail for 20 years.

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Beginning April 1, Wexford “will provide comprehensive healthcare including both medical and mental health care and management services to State inmates in accordance to applicable laws” for 30 months — through Sept. 30, 2020 — for a sum of $360,471,062, which ADOC will pay.

According to the Associated Press, Wexford had not been accused of any wrongdoing when the state decided to sign a contract with them.

Which is why earlier this month a chairman of the state’s Legislature’s contract review committee, Vestavia Hills-Republican State Rep. Jack Williams, delayed the contract on March 1 to give Ivey’s office time to review it further and decide whether or not to stop it.

“I held it up in order to give the governor’s office time to evaluate these others concerns that have been raised primarily from the state of Mississippi,” Williams said at the time.

Ivey’s office has not returned a request for comment.

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