May 01, 2018
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) today announced steps taken to secure a medical vendor for inmate health services statewide. Unfortunately, the Department was not appropriated sufficient funding in the 2018-2019 fiscal year to secure a medical vendor to provide constitutionally mandated health care or to fund the Department’s pharmaceutical budget. Additionally, FDC’s operating budget sustained $24.9 million in reductions.
The appropriated budget requires the Department to cancel and reduce contracts with many of its community partners in order to fund inmate health services.
Secretary Julie Jones, said “First and foremost, it’s our responsibility to ensure the security of individuals in our custody and to make certain their human and constitutional rights are upheld while incarcerated. Health care is one of these constitutional responsibilities, and in my tenure, I’ve held vendors accountable for ensuring these services are provided at an adequate and appropriate level, that is in line with required standards. Like every state agency, we must make fiscally sound decisions to operate within our legislatively appropriated budget.”
“In order to secure a health services contractor, fund the increased pharmaceutical budget, and adjust for reductions, we’ve unfortunately had to make some very difficult decisions. At the start of the next fiscal year, we will be reducing some of our current contracts with community providers. Additionally, we are reducing operating costs to include maintenance, repair, utilities, and working to find every possible internal solution to reduce costs in order to maximize services for inmates and offenders. It is our hope that these decisions, while necessary given the circumstances, are temporary and a positive working partnership with our community partners can continue in the future.”
Community providers with impacted contracts are being contacted. These contracts include substance abuse services for inmates and offenders. Please see linked documents for additional details. Budget appropriations from contracted services will be shifted to inmate health services. Other budget categories could not be moved or reduced, because the funds would impact critical, core services (safety and security), or the categories sustained reductions, despite lack of reversions in prior years.
The Department’s current contract to provide health services to more than 86,000 inmates expires June 30, 2018. For the last two years, FDC has conducted competitive procurements to continue these services. These procurements include preventative health services, dental, mental health treatment, hospital care, and treatment of chronic disease. Health care costs have continued to increase nationwide, and the Department’s health care needs have mirrored national trends. FDC is committed to ensuring inmates receive appropriate medical and behavioral health care that is in line with evolving standards of care nationally.
As Florida's largest state agency, the Department of Corrections employs 24,000 members statewide, incarcerates approximately 97,000 inmates and supervises nearly 167,000 offenders in the community.