ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Department of Corrections has hired a new firm to manage medical care for the state's 9,000 prison inmates.

The department hired St. Louis-based Centurion Managed Care. The Fortune 500 health care company manages medical care under public contracts in several states.

A 2012 investigation found that at least nine Minnesota inmates had died since 2000 due to denial or delay of care while Corizon Health was the state's prison medical contractor.
The department's announcement did not address past cases. But Corrections Commissioner Tom Roy released a statement praising Corizon for introducing managed-care efficiencies to Minnesota's prisons and providing "excellent service to the state."

Reports say the contract with Centurion takes effect Jan. 1 and will cost the state $67.5 million through 2016.