Officials at Coleman Federal Prison in Sumter County said they are reviewing a year’s worth of on-site inmate medical costs for general medicine and optometry after an audit by the Office of Inspector General found improper billing and lack of oversight, costing taxpayers money.
Coleman’s complex is the largest in the country, with more than 6,000 inmates. The newly released audit shows medical costs for those serving out their sentences in Central Florida went unchecked.
The Office of Inspector General wrote that the Bureau of Prisons, "did not provide adequate oversight of contractor performance and billings." Officials also wrote that, as a result of weaknesses, third-party health care provider Correct Care Solutions was paid at least $827,000 over a three-year period for "out-of-network services, and services not covered by Medicare pricing without proper approval of the prices billed."
SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. — Download: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps
Auditors said they found that the prison employee who signed off on those bill payments, representing 43 cases of medical care, did not know his signature was being treated as an approval of the price. It’s unclear how much those services should have actually cost, but any overage is money taxpayers will not get back.
That’s in addition to penalties for late payments of nearly $100,000, and improper payments for on-site services equaling about the same amount. When OIG staff discussed those errors with Coleman's warden, the staff members admitted they had no idea until the audit was done that they had been improperly billed, even though Correct Care Solutions was aware of the mistake.
As of July, Coleman had not applied the nearly $100,000 it overpaid as a credit toward another invoice with Correct Care. The contract with that provider is set to run until December 2020.
Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live
Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD
Cox Media Group