Published: Jan 04, 2013 11:52 AM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Health care workers at nine South Florida prisons are getting termination notices because their jobs are being outsourced.
    
Department of Corrections spokeswoman Ann Howard said Thursday that notices began going out this week to nearly 400 employees.
    
The agency has signed a five-year, $48 million annual contract with Pittsburgh-based Wexford Health Sources. It's expected to save taxpayers $1 million a month.
    
The South Florida prisons were covered by a budget provision calling for privatization of their health services.  A judge blocked plans to outsource health care at other Florida prisons because they were not included in the budget provision. The department is appealing.
    
The affected prisons are in Hardee, DeSoto, Charlotte, Okeechobee, Martin and Miami-Dade counties.
    
The transition is expected in March but no firm date yet has been set.

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