County approves medical services contract for jail

County Commissioners approved a four year contract with Alluvion Health for medical services at the Cascade County Adult Detention Center during their April 27 meeting.

The cost for the first year of the contract, beginning July 1, is $1.57 million. The contract may be extended an additional three years, in 12 month increments, beyond the initial four year term.

The county’s previous medical provider at the jail was Planned Parenthood of Montana, which informed the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office in January that they would no longer be able to provide services once their contract ended this summer.

County seeking proposals for jail medical services

The county issued a request for proposals in January and received three proposals, one from Alluvion, Correctional Health Partners and Planned Parenthood also submitted a proposal.

During the April 21 work session, Undersheriff Cory Reeves said that the current medical director at the jail, a Planned Parenthood employee, concurred with CCSO staff that Alluvion’s was the best proposal, which also included mental health and additional services at the lowest cost.

The Planned Parenthood proposal was $2.1 million for the first year and the Correctional Health proposal was $2.4 million for the first year and had a robust program, but less staffing, Reeves said.

Each proposal includes annual increases.

The Alluvion contract, as approved by commissioners, includes the following increases:

  • 2021-2022: base contract year at $1,572,000
  • 2022-2023: 3 percent increase to $1,619,160
  • 2023-2024: 3.5 percent increase to $1,675,831
  • 2024-2025: 4 percent increase to $1,742,864

During the April 21 work session, Commissioner Don Ryan asked “we can only increase taxes so much every year, where will the money come from?”

Reeves said the new contract is a similar cost to the current one, which also had annual increases, but, “I have no idea, it will have to come from the budget somewhere.”

According to the RFP that was issued in January, he primary objective of the contract is to provide onsite “medically necessary services and maintain a level of quality service in accordance with National Correctional Health Care Standards, the American Correctional Association and in accordance with federal and state laws. The proposal for health care services shall include health care personnel, direct medical services for inmates, and coordination of off-site medical care and other services that may be needed.”

Proposals for the contract are expected to: “maintain and/or maximize the use of the county’s on-site medical unit to meet the medical needs of inmates (e.g., initial physical assessments, ongoing evaluation and treatment of minor medical conditions, reduction of off-site medical trips, and stabilization of urgent and emergency medical conditions); maintain and/or enhance on-site dental services program to meet the basic dental needs of inmates (e.g., initial assessment, extractions, examinations, and emergency treatment); establish an on-site mental health care system to meet the needs of the inmates and; maintain off-site contractor network of hospitals, physicians, and other ancillary
medical contractors to provide medically necessary services to inmates when those services cannot be delivered at the detention facility or by the medical contractor.”