Prison inmates can't really shop around for health plans, but depending on where they are held, they may have access to Correctional Medical Services (CMS). More than a quarter of a million incarcerated people rely on CMS, which operates medical units in more than 300 prisons and jails in roughly 20 states across the US. Its 6,000 doctors, nurses, and other medical providers administer primary and specialty medical care (including dental care, mental health and substance abuse services), pharmacy services, and medical records management. The company has statewide health care contracts with more than 10 state prison systems. Privately held Corizon owns CMS.
Corizon was formed when CMS parent Valitás acquired rival America Service Group (parent of managed health providers PHS Correctional Healthcare and Correctional Health Services) in 2011 for some $250 million. The merger created a market leader, and the combined entity serves about 400 correctional facilities. The combination allowed the constituent companies to increase operational efficiencies and provide a broader range of services to customers.
CMS operates mostly in the south and Midwest and has multi-year contracts with the Departments of Corrections in Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, and Wisconsin to name just a few. Adult inmates aren't the company's only target demographic; it also provides health care to teens in trouble through its juvenile detention center units. CMS has also regularly examined diversification opportunities through the addition of new service offerings or through strategic acquisitions.
Since people show no signs of giving of crime altogether and the inmate population in the US is forecast to continue growing, CMS is in a good position to expand. Additionally, prisons and jails are increasingly turning to private firms for healthcare services as pressure on state budgets forces them to look for new ways to save money. CMS places emphasis on marketing its cost and risk management services, outcome improvement, and leading position in the industry to sell itself to potential clients.
Advances in technology have allowed CMS to increase the scope of specialty services it is able to provide through the use of telehealth. Through the telehealth program CMS healthcare professionals onsite work with specialty physicians at regional hospitals to provide consultations in areas such as pulmonology and surgery. CMS uses a proprietary standalone telemedicine cart that features a high-definition monitor, stethoscope, general exam camera, dermatology camera, and a spirometry unit (to measure lung function). The specialized carts enable CMS staff to work remotely with hospital specialists to directly evaluate correctional patients during their telemedicine consultation. Along with the cost savings associated with not having to transport inmates to and from the hospital, telehealth services reduce the risk of inmates making a run for it during an offsite medical visit.
The company was founded in 1979. CMS' two sister companies include PharmaCorr, which provides pharmaceutical distribution to prisons, and Genesis Behavioral Services which provides mental health and reintegration treatment services. Clients can opt to use the services of all three companies or pick and choose between them, depending upon their specific needs. – less