A US-based healthcare company that operated in the prison healthcare and "community corrections" industries until 2023.
Centene Corporation is a St. Louis–based healthcare company that operates government-sponsored healthcare programs in 36 states across the U.S. Between 2013 and 2023, Centene owned Centurion Health, a prison healthcare business. In January 2023, Centene divested itself of Centurion Health and sold the company to an undisclosed buyer.
Centurion was established in 2013 as a joint venture of Centene and MHM Services, a national provider of behavioral and medical health services for prison systems. In 2018, Centene acquired MHM Services, including the company's ownership stake in Centurion. As of 2018, Centurion provided services to 300 prisons, jails, and youth detention centers incarcerating some 330,000 individuals across 16 U.S. states.
Under Centene, Centurion routinely faced lawsuits and complaints alleging inadequate medical services, medical negligence, systemic understaffing, and refusal to cooperate with investigations into patient deaths. In 2020, for example, attorneys representing 152 incarcerated individuals filed a class action lawsuit against Centurion over "deprivation of health and mental health care" at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. One year prior, Centurion was named in a 2019 lawsuit alleging that company employees at the Penitentiary of New Mexico frequently denied incarcerated individuals medical care and "allowed common bacterial infections to go unchecked," resulting in preventable hospitalizations, serious injuries, and at least one documented death.
In the years leading up to its sale by Centene, Centurion expanded its reach within the "community corrections" and "reentry" industry. In 2022, for instance, Centurion announced the launch of a new "nationwide reentry initiative" aimed at connecting individuals recently released from prison or jail to medical care, mental health care, and drug treatment. In 2021, the company began a new contract with the Missouri Department of Corrections for providing medical and mental health services for 19 prisons and two "community transition center[s]" across the state.