The Nassau County jail’s medical provider, a company under intense scrutiny after a series of inmate deaths and a recent state attorney general’s lawsuit, said Wednesday it would be a breach of contract if the county didn’t pay the company’s recent bills.
The statement by Armor Correctional Health Services appears to be another signal that the company could withdraw its operations from the jail early. On Tuesday, it said it wouldn’t bid to keep the contract for inmate health services that expires in May.
Armor also had said Tuesday it would work with county officials to guarantee a “seamless transition” to a new jail health care provider “as long as all parties adhere to the contractual terms of the current contract.”
On Wednesday, Armor said it had sent in bills for July and August along with contract performance data, and if Nassau officials didn’t respond with payments, “then pursuant to the contract the county will be in breach of the contract.”
The company’s announcement that it wouldn’t respond to a request for proposals for a new jail medical contract – which County Executive Edward Mangano’s administration issued in March – followed Comptroller George Maragos’ recent refusal to pay Armor’s July bill of nearly $1 million until the vendor provided performance-related data.
Those developments followed New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s July lawsuit accusing Armor of providing “dangerously inadequate health services,” and of defrauding Nassau taxpayers by continuing to take millions in public money. The civil action also alleged county officials failed to enforce performance-based terms of Armor’s contract.
Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday Armor’s decision not to bid to renew its Nassau contract is a “positive step forward” for taxpayers.
The state’s top law enforcement official, whose suit also seeks to block Armor from doing business across New York, added that the company’s planned withdrawal from Nassau “does not erase Armor’s history of failure.”
But Armor fired back, saying its decision to not bid for a new jail contract “has nothing to do with the baseless claims brought forth by the attorney general.”
The company repeated a comment from Tuesday saying it wasn’t seeking the Nassau contract after deciding “its resources are better served in jurisdictions outside of New York” and that it hasn’t bid on any New York contracts in more than two years.
By now, Nassau normally would have paid Armor’s July and August bills, which add up to nearly $2 million, according to the Comptroller’s office.
But a Comptroller’s spokeswoman said her office rejected Armor’s July bill of about $968,000 on Wednesday and sent it back to the Sheriff’s Department because performance data it received Tuesday wasn’t complete and didn’t cover the right period of time.
She said the comptroller hadn’t yet received Armor’s August bill of about $968,000.
A Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Wednesday that Armor’s August bill “is currently being processed” into a computer system. “All of the vouchers for payments due to Armor since mid-2011 have been submitted to the Comptroller’s Office in the exact same form and manner,” the spokesman said.
Armor declined to comment on the Comptroller’s rejection of its July bill.
Armor’s contract says the company can terminate its agreement “if performance becomes impracticable through no fault of the contractor” by sending notice to the county 60 days or less before withdrawing.