Philadelphia prison health contract questioned at council hearing
February 27, 2013By Tom MacDonald
Some members of Philadelphia City Council are upset about a contract extension for the company providing healthcare in city prisons. They aired the concerns at a hearing Wednesday.
The current Philadelphia prison healthcare provider was fined more than $1.8 million for a failure to meet minority participation standards. But Corizon Health still received a new contract, even though another company made a bid that was millions cheaper.
Prison Commissioner Lou Giorla says Corizon was fined for using a minority vendor as a front.
"The vendor, Corizon, paid them simply for their name, and ordered their pharmaceuticals from another group that wasn't qualified," he said.
Giorla says the prisons are pleased with Corizon's work. He says officials were not really seeking a new provider but had to re-bid the contract before extending it.
"It's wasn't to switch providers or to find another provider but primarily the competitive process allows other bidders that may be be qualified," he said.
Councilman Jim Kenney is upset, saying what is turning into a multi-year contract should have to get council approval. He's also angry a company with a major minority hiring violation could be rewarded with another contract.