County to issue new RFP for medical contract

The Mohave County purchasing office plans to issue a new requests for proposals for a contractor to provide medical services to the county jail and juvenile detention center because it rejected recent bids.

Procurement Manager Morris Brite recommended rejecting the bid from the current contract provider – Prison Health Services of Nashville, Tenn.

– over bonding and insurance requirements.

He also recommended rejecting a bid for another company, Wexford of Pittsburgh, because it arrived too late.

Brite said he expects to advertise the new request for proposals next week and select a contractor within a month.

The contract with Prison Health Services expires at the end of August.

An executive with Prison Health Services said the county's requirements for performance bonds were too high.

The county currently pays Prison Health Services about $800,000 a year.

Brite urged the county supervisors Monday to reject the bids and authorize him to issue a new request for proposal, a document that requests information on a company's finances and credentials in addition to bid figures.

But while the supervisors rejected the bids, they accepted a new contract for food services for the jail and detention center from Canteen, a Phoenix-based company.

Canteen, which has the existing contract, will get paid based on the number of meals served.

In both cases, the county received few responses to the RFPs, which Brite blames on the county's isolated location.

Both contracts are for three years, with the option of renewing them for two more years.

He said Prison Health Services is eligible to respond to the new RFP.

Larry Pomeroy, senior vice president of the company, said the company plans to do so.

"We are very interested in maintaining our relationship with the county, and will do our best to submit a cost-effective proposal," he said.

Pomeroy questioned the county's requirement to post a 100 percent performance bond, which means the successful bidder would have to pay the full amount of the contract if the company were to default.

"The other thing is that post-9/11 the market for obtaining insurance and bonding of any type is becoming prohibitively expensive," Pomeroy said.

"Our suggestion would be if they don't want to eliminate the bonding requirement they can consider reducing it to a more reasonable level of 10 to 15 percent of the contract value."

Brite said the new RFP will not call for 100 percent bonding.

"The bonding was too much," he said.

"Nobody wanted to bid.

We are going to rewrite it and reduce the bonding requirements."

The bonding requirement was merely one issue that led county officials to reject the bid from Prison Health Services, Mohave County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jarrod Lyman said.

The sheriff's office operates the jail, and the probation department runs the detention center.

He cited "technical issues," but declined to expand on them.

The medical services contractor is required to provide medical, dental and psychological care for about 450 inmates, including juveniles at the detention center, Brite said.

Pomeroy said Prison Health Services has hired staff and contracted with specialists, hospitals and other providers.

Brite said, "I haven't heard any complaints about them."

Brite said the contract for food services calls for paying Canteen $1.83 per meal for zero to 600 meals served in the jail, $1.50 per meal for between 600 and 900 meals and $1.17 per meal for between 900 and 1,200 meals.

He said the rate is $1.23 per meal for up to 100 meals served at the detention center.