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Proposed Prison Healthcare Delivery Arkansas's Largest Contract Ever

A Chart of Rising Prison Healthcare Costs

The future of the largest contract with a private entity in state history was the center of discussion over prison healthcare in Friday's Arkansas Legislative Council meeting. The proposed 9 year, $92 million contract drew questions over its size and the search process selecting Correct Care Solutions as the best company for comprehensive medical and pharmaceutical services.

Senator Linda Chesterfield asked Senator David Sanders, both of Central Arkansas, how the contract differs from previous care delivery. Sanders said he needed more time to get some of the answers but did have some comments on how care has been delivered in the past.

“They were split in terms of the medical services and the pharmaceutical services and it was a rather large contract price. They actually bid on this RFP and they were not the winning bidder. This is a new contract with a new company, a new entity,” said Sanders.

Sanders said he wants to give legislators time to get answers.

“I do think that when you're looking at a contract of this magnitude if there are questions I think it behooves the legislature and members to get those questions answered,” said Sanders.

The contract will undergo further review in a subcommittee before the Arkansas Legislative Council again considers its approval.

Recent studies by the PEW Charitable trusts show rapidly rising healthcare costs in the prison system with Arkansas experiencing the 5th highest change in the nation over a seven year period.

Jacob Kauffman is a former news anchor and reporter for KUAR.