PHOENIX — The Latest on hearings held Wednesday in a lawsuit that challenged the quality of health care in Arizona’s prisons (all times local):
A judge in a lawsuit challenging the quality of health care in Arizona’s prisons plans to resume a hearing next month over whether the state’s inmate-care provider denied care to an inmate to avoid paying a fine.
Magistrate David Duncan heard testimony in the dispute Wednesday morning, but recessed the hearing until March 12.
The hearing stems from an email by a Corizon Health employee who asked a doctor to cancel an inmate’s infection-disease consultations because the company didn’t have a provider to send him to.
A lawyer for the state says the employee later emailed the doctor to say the company had an infection-disease specialist.
The recess was called so a hearing could be held Wednesday afternoon over whether Arizona should be fined for failing to adequately improve care.
A court hearing is scheduled Wednesday to determine whether Arizona should face fines for falling short in its promise to improve health care in state prisons.
The state agreed to make the improvements in 2014 when it settled a lawsuit over the quality of prison health care.
Magistrate David Duncan called the hearing after repeatedly voicing frustration over what he described as the state’s “abject failure” to carry out the improvements.
Duncan has threatened to hold Corrections Director Charles Ryan in civil contempt of court and fine the state $1,000 for each instance of noncompliance in December and January.
The state could be fined as much as $1.4 million after acknowledging it had nearly 1,400 instance of noncompliance in those months.