Sheriff’s Office opposes current bids to jail medical provider replacement

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is asking Charleston County to keep looking for a new medical provider for the jail.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 8:00 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2023 at 8:16 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is asking Charleston County to keep looking for a new medical provider for the jail, claiming no vendor that has responded to the County’s request for proposal would meet the current needs of the Al Cannon Detention Center.

A selection committee recommended Kansas-based company VitalCore to take over for the current jail medical provider, Wellpath.

The Kansas-based company scored #1 for technical and cost considerations among three bidders.

Newly released emails from the Sheriff’s Office reveal that the agency has opposed all three vendors that applied for the contract bid, although it’s unclear for what reasons. That includes VitalCore as well as NaphCare and Armor Correctional Health Services.

Abigail Duffy, manager of special projects, wrote to County Procurement Director Barrett Tolbert on March 21 after Tolbert requested input on the selection committee’s recommendation, to move the process forward.

Duffy wrote that after speaking with Sheriff Kristin Graziano, Chief Patrick Morris and general counsel the agency is “adamantly opposed to any of the offers.”

In a follow up email on March 27 from general counsel Nicole Paluzzi, she wrote “CCSO does not feel comfortable with any of the bidder[s] for reasons the evaluation team specified in their meeting. We are asking that the RFP be re-solicitated rather than engage in a new arrangement with any of the organizations.”

This month, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office ruled an inmate’s death from late last year homicide by medical neglect.

The County’s contract with the current medical provider will expire in June.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office provided the following statement:

“Though it is a county process, we continue to provide input to the county in the appropriate forum. We do have concerns about all three prospective providers and have clearly expressed those concerns. Our goal is to find a solution that fits the needs of our community and agency. It’s important to note that evaluation is different from selection, and a higher score for one bidder might not necessarily mean that the prospective provider — or any of them — would be a good fit.”