A conversation with Corizon Health CEO regarding Rikers Island contract

A casual conversation about the Rikers contract loss with Corizon Health CEOCorizon Health CEO Dr. Woodrow A. Myers, Jr. was interviewed by The Marshall Project’s Maura Ewing in response to the recent loss of our healthcare contract with Rikers Island (NY). Ms. Ewing began her questions by calling attention to other contract losses we have seen since 2012, calling these, along with the loss of the Rikers contract, a “turn of fortune” for the company. While admitting there have been “some losses,” Dr. Myers reminded the interviewer of the 40 contract gains that have occurred since 2012, bringing the total number of contracts for Corizon Health to 114 across 27 states. He then points out that more than half of Corizon’s current clients have been our clients for 10+ years. “That’s not the profile of a loser,” stated Dr. Myers.

The author next turned her attention specifically to the accusations weathered by Corizon in the recent New York City Department of Investigation (DOI) report. These accusations faulted Corizon Health for not conducting criminal background checks on our employees, but failed to adequately explain that issuing credentials for individuals who work on the island was not the responsibility of Corizon Health, but of the Department of Corrections (DOC). “It’s just one example of the kind of complexity that we encounter,” Dr. Myers said.

Dr. Myers explained his desire for our Corizon Health team members to know that “our number one goal is to deliver terrific clinical outcomes” and to treat our patients with “dignity and respect.” In addition, our clients expect us to use the funds that are provided to us in the most efficient way possible to provide care for our patients. That means we do not cater to elective procedures, but rather “provide all the care that a patient needs and only the care that a patient needs.”

Citing the litigious nature of the correctional healthcare industry, Ms. Ewing suggests the perception of a lack of transparency on the part of Corizon Health. In fact, the majority of lawsuits brought against Corizon are dismissed as unfounded, and strict healthcare privacy regulations often prevent us from telling what we believe to be the truth in a situation.

Finally, Dr. Myers admitted that just like in every other healthcare system, on occasion, mistakes are made. In contrast, given the number of encounters per year, “I am confident that we’re moving in a good direction,” explained Dr. Myers. “I would dare you to find another healthcare company that just appointed a VP for [healthcare] analytics, Chief Quality Officer, etc…we believe we deserve the opportunity to care for as many patients as we can.”

Read Dr. Myers’ entire Q&A here.