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Nassau close to agreement to extend jail care, county attorney says

This aerial view shows the Nassau County Jail

This aerial view shows the Nassau County Jail in East Meadow. Credit: / Kevin P. Coughlin

A Nassau County deputy attorney told a judge Friday the administration is “very close” to agreements that would extend the current jail medical vendor’s stay before Nassau University Medical Center would take over inmate treatment at the facility in two or three months.

“We have all the essential terms worked out,” county lawyer Andrew Scott told State Supreme Court Justice Robert Bruno about talks with vendor Armor Correctional Health Services.

The embattled company recently sued the county seeking a ruling it can leave the East Meadow facility when its contract ends May 31. County Executive Edward Mangano’s administration says a clause in the contract can require it to stay longer to help transition to the next medical provider.

An attorney for Armor told the judge the company would be “comfortable” with an agreement to stay 90 more days at most. An Armor spokeswoman said in a statement later the company “has agreed to discuss a short extension,” in order “to make sure that there would be continuity of patient care.”

A state oversight agency has found Armor provided inadequate care relating to at least five Nassau inmate deaths and last year Armor settled a lawsuit from the state attorney general accusing it of deficient care. Four federal lawsuits against Armor and the county involving inmate deaths remain pending, after a jury’s nearly $8 million April verdict against the parties following a veteran’s 2012 jail suicide.

Last month county officials began negotiations with NUMC for the hospital to provide inmate care on at least an interim basis. The talks became critical after no qualified vendors bid to take over the jail contract following a second request for proposals Mangano’s administration issued in March.

Scott told the judge Friday an agreement also is in the works with NUMC that would “envision the hospital coming in either 60 or 90 days out.” It wasn’t clear if that would involve a temporary or long-term contract, and a NUMC spokeswoman said later that terms “are still being negotiated.”

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