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Prison nurses complain about private health care vendor

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 07:02:38 CDT

Nurses working in Illinois prisons are raising concerns about the care being given to inmates, and the company that's supposed to provide the care. Mary Johnson spent 12 years as a registered nurse at the Graham Correctional Center about 50 miles south of Springfield, Illinois. She was a state employee, many of the other medical employees work for Wexford, a private company with a 1.4 billion dollar contract to provide health care for inmates.
Johnson told a house committee scrutinizing that contract that Wexford puts unreasonable restrictions on medical supplies. Some of the issues are seemingly minor:

"We routinely run out of cups for the med line, which the vender is to provide, when that happens then the Department of Corrections has provided thos cups at a cost to them."

Other issues are more serious. Johnson says the prison's EKG machine was out of order for 9 months. Democratic representative Greg Harris is pushing for a third party to audit the health care being provided in the prisons. Wexford says they welcome such oversight.

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