Commissioners to vote on health provider for jail

Commissioners to vote on health provider for jail
July 06
05:00 2017

County commissioners are scheduled to vote on renewing Correct Care Solutions LLC’s contract to provide health services at the Forsyth County Detention Center in their next formal meeting on July 13.

The commissioners have eliminated their traditional Monday meetings to instead hold votes twice a month during their weekly 2 p.m. Thursday briefings. There’s already opposition on an item for their Thursday, July 13, meeting as Commissioner Everette Witherspoon said during last week’s briefing he won’t be voting to renew Correct Care’s contract because of local inmate deaths.

“Correct Care Solutions makes the Sheriff’s Office look bad, makes the county look bad, it makes the Department of Health look bad and it makes the commissioners look bad,” he said.

Witherspoon said he’s gotten many phone calls from constituents on the recent deaths of inmates receiving medical care, which constituents blame the county and Sheriff’s Office for. He also said there’s too many lawsuits over inmate care both locally and nationally against Correct Care.

Sheriff Bill Schatzman said that there is an investigation ongoing to determine the facts around the latest deaths of inmates at the Detention Center in May. He also said any deaths were unacceptable and that he understood the concerns.

“I understand what you’re hearing, because I’m hearing it as well,” said Schatzman.

Correct Care’s contract runs out at the end of August. There was a Request for Proposals distributed to 12 vendors and then requested by 19 additional vendors. Five vendors attended a pre-bid meeting. Only Correct Care submitted a bid. Chief Deputy Brad Stanley said that because of the large size of the jail, it’s hard to find other vendors. Witherspoon said there must be another company that could do it.

“We have not found it yet,” Stanley responded.

The $13.2 million three-year contract being considered would go from Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2020. Commissioner Fleming El-Amin, who’s also gotten many calls on inmate deaths, asked if it could be bid again. County Attorney Davida Martin said that the current contract could be extended for a year while they bid it again or they could bid it again after renewing the contract.

County Manger Dudley Watts said he planned to have a representative from Correct Care at today’s July 6 briefing to answer commissioner’s questions. Correct Care solutions is based in Tennessee and provides health services to 333 local detention facilities around the country, including jails in Mecklenburg, Guilford and Durham counties.

Also during last week’s briefings, commissioners heard from IFB Solutions Vice President of Business Affairs David Barnwell about its request for $120,000 to modernize its optical manufacturing facility into a full service lab that can put anti-reflective (AR) coating on eyeglasses. Many of those eyeglasses go to Veterans Affairs hospitals. IFB Solutions, formerly Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind,  is involved in two lawsuits defending VA’s use of AbilityOne organizations, with blind or severally disabled employees, against those who want the VA to instead use veteran-owned organizations. Barnwell said that IFB is working both through litigation and a possible legislative solution to resolve the issue.

Even in the worse-case scenario where IFB lost its VA contracts, the upgrade to its optical manufacturing would let it compete in commercial markets outside the state.

The $120,000 is 10 percent of the $1.2 million project cost, which IFB will be getting from a variety of sources.

It has already put in a request for financial assistance to the City of Winston-Salem.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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