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Bernalillo County jail health care provider ends contract

April 26, 2021 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The medical care provider for Bernalillo County’s jail is walking away more than a year before its contract is up.

The Albuquerque Journal reported Monday that Centurion Detention Health Services abruptly notified the county it will end its service in six months.

The health care provider has faced heavy criticism after nine people died over the course of a year while at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Albuquerque. Six of those deaths involved inmates who were detoxing from drugs or alcohol or were in medical units, the newspaper first reported in March.

A corrections officers’ union alleged Centurion staff sometimes put life-or-death medical situations on the officers.

Bernalillo County Manager Julie Morgas Baca says the county initially asked Centurion to address concerns it had. But the company instead opted to end its contract, which it is legally allowed to do.

An attorney for Centurion did not respond to requests for comment.

Centurion began serving the jail in 2019. It was expected to give medical, dental, mental health and psychiatric services under a contract worth $13 million a year.