MADERA — The Madera County Board of Supervisors held a rare special meeting Monday to choose a health care services provider for adult and juvenile inmates in county correctional facilities.
The special meeting began at 8:30 a.m. at the County Government Center in Madera. (Supervisors will not hold their regular meeting on Tuesday this week because they will be traveling to San Francisco to attend a California State Association of Counties (CSAC) meeting. The next regular board meeting will be Dec. 10.)
Prior to Monday’s special meeting, the County had solicited proposals from qualified health care companies to provide services to the inmates housed and held within the Adult and Juvenile Correctional Facilities. Proposals covered a broad range of inmate medical, dental and mental health services as well as program administration and personnel management.
The County currently has a contract with Nashville, Tennessee-based Wellpath, a private company that provides inmate health care services to local, regional and federal government entities around the country, including Madera County. (Wellpath has a second corporate headquarters in San Diego.)
Wellpath submitted a bid to the County to continue its services at an annualized cost of roughly $4.6 million dollars a year over the next three years.
Two other healthcare providers also bid on the contract: NaphCare and Madera Community Hospital.
At today’s special meeting, Madera Community Hospital made their presentation first and lobbied for the lucrative deal, asking supervisors to keep the dollars the County was spending on inmate health care local.
A number of Madera Community’s board members and executive staff also attended today’s meeting.
Of the three bidders, Wellpath’s bid came in the highest.
Birmingham, Alabama-based NaphCare also submitted a proposal with an average annual cost of approximately $4.4 million over the next three years and Madera Community Hospital’s bid came in slightly above that at an average annualized cost over the next three years of $4.55 million.
Prior to the meeting, county staff reviewed and ranked each of the proposed providers’ proposals and Wellpath came in with the highest score (33.7) followed by NaphCare (28.5) and Madera Community Hospital (17.1).
At today’s meeting, Madera Community Hospital CEO Karen Paolinelli told supervisors Madera Community “is the perfect candidate for this job contract.” If the local hospital was awarded the inmate contract, Paolinelli added, “it’s endless the different kinds of things we can do to help the community.”
But after listening to more than four hours of presentations from the three bidders, and county jail administrators, the supervisors voted 4-0 in favor (with Supervisor Rob Poythress abstaining) of retaining Wellpath as Madera County’s inmate health care provider.