A lawsuit alleging medical misconduct against a state prison's health care provider has taken a surprise turn.
Corizon Health has backed out of its five-year contract with the Virginia Department of Corrections, which is currently being sued for medical neglect at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women.
The lawsuit against the VADOC was filed by the Legal Aid Justice Center back in 2012. The lawsuit alleges inmates at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women were not able to access health care, claiming there were even people who were diagnosed with cancer who weren't able to get treatment.
In May 2013, Corizon underbid the previous VADOC health care provider by $17 million – but still became the new provider, thus pulling them into the previously filed suit.
At this point it’s unclear why Corizon is pulling out of the agreement but it has filed a motion to halt the suit.
While the exact reason behind the termination is unclear, the Legal Aid Justice Center suspects it is financial.
"We were shocked. It was definitely surprising. They had a five-year contract that began in May of last year and as far as we knew they were planning on spending at least the five years there and probably rebidding the contract after that,” said Legal Aid Justice Center attorney Brenda Castañeda.
Castañeda says it's possible Corizon went in and realized they couldn't provide care at that low of a cost.
The Legal Aid Justice Center has 14 days to respond to the motion. At this point the lawsuit is still set to head to trial on December 1.
The VADOC announced it is searching for a new provider to replace Corizon in October.