Nassau County Correctional Facility  in East Meadow.

Nassau County Correctional Facility in East Meadow. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County’s comptroller approved a payment of about $966,000 to the jail’s medical provider Monday, more than two weeks after a deadline the embattled company set for receiving the money while threatening a walkout.

It remained unclear Monday if Armor Correctional Health Services still planned to leave the East Meadow facility by early October after getting the new payment, which covers the month of August.

The company, whose contract ends in May, didn’t comment on its intentions Monday.

Spokesmen for Nassau Sheriff Michael Sposato and County Executive Edward Mangano didn’t say Monday if county officials believed the payment would keep the contractor in place.

Sposato previously has said he doesn’t have a backup plan if Armor walks out in a hurry, and some inmate advocates fear the jail is on the brink of a health-care crisis.

Armor has come under fire after a series of inmate custody deaths since it first won a Nassau contract in mid-2011.

In a Sept. 7 letter, Armor told Comptroller George Maragos the company would terminate its contract and leave the jail no later than Oct. 7 if the county didn’t pay its July and August bills — totaling roughly $2 million — by Sept. 9.

Maragos authorized a payment of $802,000 on Sept. 9 for Armor’s July bill, which included a performance deduction of $165,000. But he didn’t pay Armor’s August bill at that time.

Since then, Mangano’s office repeatedly has said Armor hasn’t acted to terminate its contract.

Maragos halted regular payment on Armor’s bills in July, saying he first needed to see data for each monthly invoice showing the company was meeting contract performance goals.

His stance followed New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s July 11 lawsuit against Armor. That suit alleged the company has provided “dangerously inadequate” inmate medical services and the county has failed to enforce performance terms of its contract.

The state Commission of Correction has found Armor provided inadequate care in connection with five Nassau inmate deaths, including one last year.

The families of four of those men are suing the county and Armor in federal court. The six inmate deaths that have occurred this year also remain under state investigation.

The $965,935.37 August invoice payment Maragos authorized Monday included a deduction of $1,675 in penalties, according to his spokeswoman, Carla Hall D’Ambra.

She said he approved payment of the July and August bills after getting the invoices and matching performance data, and reviewing them as part of a queue of bills that are handled in the order they are received.

The comptroller’s office rejected Armor’s August bill twice before granting payment approval, she said, adding that Armor should receive the money on Wednesday.

D’Ambra identified the deductions from Armor’s August payment as a $225 penalty for its supervision of suicide watch patients, a $1,400 penalty for its chronic care services and a $50 penalty connected to women’s health services.

There were no reported inmate suicides or suicide attempts during the time period the performance data covers, a state spokeswoman said Monday.

Armor’s September bill usually would be in the comptroller’s office by this time, according to Maragos’ spokeswoman.

Sposato’s spokesman, Capt. Michael Golio, said in a statement that Armor’s September invoice “is currently being processed by the Sheriff’s Department,” which will send it to Maragos’ office.

Armor, which has repeatedly defended its operations, announced in August it wouldn’t bid on a new jail health care contract after Mangano’s administration issued a request for proposals in March.

The sheriff said in August it was the administration’s understanding then that Armor would maintain its jail operation until the county picks a new vendor.

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