FONDA - A $62,000 one-year contract with an Amsterdam-based company to provide medical services at the Montgomery County Jail is on hold because of insurance concerns.
The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors approved the contract Tuesday with Eastern Medical Support, but with two amendments. One included a pro-rated price of $46,500 to reflect the fact the contract would run from April to December. The other said the contract language must be approved by County Attorney Douglas E. Landon and the county's liability insurance carriers.
Landon said Tuesday he had no problem with the proposal.
"I don't object to the language that's in it, but it has not been seen or approved by our insurance carriers," Landon said.
Landon said he wants that approval in writing. He said he expected to know by the end of the month whether the contract language is acceptable.
The nurse practitioner who provides medical services at the jail will leave April 15. Sean Piasecki, president and co-owner of Eastern Medical Support, said his company is waiting to see what the county will do.
"We have staff all ready to go," Piasecki said. "We want the availability for the new provider to spend time with the current provider to make sure the transition is smooth."
The longer it takes the county's insurance carriers to sign off on the contract language, the less likely that meeting could take place before the current provider leaves, he said.
Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said Tuesday he had contacted one doctor in Fulton County about providing medical services at the jail in case the contract approval with Eastern Medical Support is delayed or not approved. He did not name the doctor.
"I will bring it to his attention, but I can't say for sure this doctor will take it," he said.
The proposed contract with Eastern Medical Support includes the services of a staff doctor, who would serve as the jail's medical director, and a physician assistant/nurse practitioner, who would provide day-to-day medical services.
The company also intends to meet monthly with "high-risk" inmates to minimize the possibility of lawsuits, Piasecki said.
The families of two inmates who died while in county custody have filed claims against the Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail.
Luis Torres Jr., 30, died Oct. 13 from head injuries suffered when he fell out of a Sheriff's Department van as he and other inmates were being transported back to the jail from Amsterdam City Court.
James Vandermark died Oct. 27, 2009, of a sinus condition that jail employees ignored, according to the claim.
Eastern Medical Support maintains defibrillators at the jail and other county facilities, and trains employees in CPR and the use of defibrillators.
John R. Becker covers Montgomery County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.