Prison health care is increasingly being privatized. Health care companies perceived the profitability in providing a service for which the need is rapidly increasing, and established large, correctional health care providers to serve this market. This increase in privatization has also increased the scrutiny of the quality of prison health care.
Nationally, the top five companies provide healthcare for nearly approximately 45% of the total U.S. market. Centene acquired MHM Services in 2018, a national provider of healthcare and staffing services to correctional systems and other government agencies.
Under the terms of the agreement, Centene acquired 100 percent of the stock of MHM, including its 49 percent ownership of Centurion, the correctional healthcare services joint venture between Centene and MHM. The acquisition of MHM Services will expand Centene’s footprint in the correctional healthcare market and provide additional clinical capabilities.
MHM provides behavioral health, medical and dental services to governmental agencies in a variety of patient care settings, including correctional facilities, state hospitals, courts, juvenile facilities and community clinics. The business currently serves over 330,000 individuals in over 300 facilities across the United States.
Centurion, Centene’s joint venture subsidiary with MHM Services Inc., provides comprehensive healthcare services to individuals incarcerated in Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, Tennessee and Vermont state correctional facilities.
Centene recently announced that Arizona’s Department of Corrections has notified Centurion of Arizona, LLC (Centurion) of the state’s intent to award a contract to provide comprehensive healthcare services to inmates housed in Arizona’s state prison system. The contract is expected to commence July 1, 2019 with a base term of two years and three one-year renewal options, which are subject to customary contract negotiation.
Under the agreement, Centurion will place over 1,000 full-time equivalent employees at state-run prison facilities throughout Arizona to provide a wide array of medical, dental, and mental health services to an average daily population of approximately 33,700.