By Yaël Ossowski | Florida Watchdog

TAMPA — Overcoming the efforts of several public-sector unions, Florida plans to hire more private health vendors in its correctional instutitions.

“This step will allow us to provide the same services we currently have, which meet state and federal standards, while saving money for the taxpayers,”  Corrections Secretary Ken Tucker said in a statement July 18.

The state spent $409 million on inmate health services in 2011, according to the budget summary, and hopes to save about $30 million by allowing private firms to provide health care in those facilities.

The measure will affect upwards of 2,800 state employees who will be re-interviewed for positions with the newly chosen firms.

Brentwood, Tenn.-based Corizon Inc. and Wexford Health Sources ofPittsburgh won the bids offered by the Department of Corrections.

Wexford will be introduced into southern Florida prisons, and Corizon will take over health services in the central and northern parts of the state, according to the DOC.

Read more: Florida Watchdog