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Fla. Appeals Court Hears Arguments In Prison Health Privatization Case

Ryan Benk

A three-judge panel heard arguments Tuesday in a legal dispute between the Florida Department of Corrections and its prison health care workers who fear losing their state jobs. It’s the latest after a lower court ruled the department could only privatize prison health care in one region of the state, but must leave two other regions alone.

Last December, a Leon County Circuit Judge ruled the Florida Department of Corrections could move forward with privatizing prison health care services in the Southern region of the state. But, he also ruled a panel of Florida lawmakers did not have the authority to allow the department to privatize prison health care in the north and central regions.

That’s an argument lawyers representing state prison health care workers made. But, during a hearing in the 1st District Court of Appeals Tuesday, the department’s attorney Timothy Osterhaus argued just the opposite.

“And, that’s just flat, flat wrong…And, that’s trouble this year if that’s the rule, and that’s trouble next year if that’s the rule,” said Osterhaus.

The department hopes to get a decision soon, saying a decision in favor of the unions could impact their deficit.

Stay tuned for more on this story on Friday's Capital Report. To read more, CLICK HERE.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on twitter @SaschaCordner.