Hays County Commissioners unanimously voted to move forward with a bid process that could privatize health care services for inmates in less than three months.
The process will allow the Sheriff’s Office to compare the use of internal and external medical care options for the jail and they could request commissioners approve moving forward with a private provider or remain with their current medical staff, according to county spokesperson Laureen Chernow.
According to the timeline, the Request for Proposal (RFP) will be distributed Nov. 14 with a deadline of Dec. 14. The contract for medical care services will be finalized on Jan. 2 and the start date for a medical service provider to begin on-site services would be Feb. 1, 2013, if commissioners decide to advance with a private provider.
Adrienne Evans-Stark, a medic at the Hays County Jail, whose job may be in jeopardy, disagrees with the Commissioners Court decision to move forward so quickly with seeking RFPs for private medical services. Instead, she advocates “taking time to consider the ramifications to public health and other potential impacts” of privatizing services at the jail.
“Besides public health being impacted, there is the fact that it is impossible to make a profit on inmate health care without cutting corners in care that jeopardize the county budget,” Evans-Stark told commissioners Tuesday. “If corners are cut in care, patient care is thereby degraded and inmates die. This exponentially increases the liability to the county and does not save money.”
The matter was put on the Commissioners Court agenda by Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler and sponsored by recently re-elected Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe. The court voted 4-0, with Hays County Judge Cobb out on medical leave, to begin soliciting bids and proposals for service.
This story was originally published in the Hays Free Press.Email | Print