Alluvion exiting medical services contract at county jail

Alluvion Health has notified Cascade County officials that it is terminating its contract with the county to provide medical services at the Adult Detention Center.

Alluvion gave officials 120 days notice of terminating the contract on April 21, about a week shy of the day the four-year contract was approved in 2021.

County approves medical services contract for jail

The county released a request for proposals for medical services at the jail on April 29.

Proposals are due June 24.

In a response to The Electric about the decision to exit the contract, Tyler Menzales, Alluvion’s spokesperson, said they were experiencing turnover due to the pandemic and the federal vaccination mandate for healthcare workers.

“For Alluvion Health, this has impacted our ability to staff inmate medical services while maintaining access to the best quality patient care at our primary clinic location,” Menzales said in an email.

Alluvion recently submitted an offer to Great Falls Public Schools for $899,000 to purchase the former Roosevelt School, but have not yet given specifics on plan for that building and the sale has contingencies related city zoning changes and permitting, as well as securing funding.

The buy-sell agreement expires in September if those contingencies aren’t met.

Alluvion makes offer to purchase old Roosevelt School

Alluvion is also currently renovating the Rocky Mountain Building with plans for it to serve as a medical facility.

Abatement work starting at Rocky Mountain Building

Officials at Alluvion said they’re also working to address healthcare staffing shortages.

“As we adapt to the increasing demands on our healthcare workforce, one of our long-term strategic objectives is the design and participation in comprehensive workforce development pipelines. As we continue to focus and grow our core services, we plan to grow workforce development partnerships that will allow us, and the community, to expand access to professional healthcare education, schools and programs,” Menzales said in an email.

The county approved the contract in April 2021 after the former provider, Planned Parenthood of Montana’s contract ended.

The cost for the first year of the contract, which began July 1, is $1.57 million. The contract could have been extended an additional three years, in 12 month increments, beyond the initial four year term.

The Alluvion proposal was about $600,000 cheaper than the next lowest bid and included the following annual 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

The RFP that was issued this week for a new provider, states that the expected medical services are:

  • 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 medical conditions, reduction of off-site medical trips, and stabilization of urgent and emergency medical conditions) and;
  • Maintain on-site dental services program to meet the basic dental needs of inmates (e.g., exams, necessary extractions, and emergency treatment only) and;
  • Maintain on-site mental health care system to meet the needs of the inmates. Medical or mental health employees will testify in court proceedings when requested by the county attorney’s office 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 and;
  • Medical contractor and its employees shall acknowledge and understand their medical services rendered are in a jail/correctional environment subject to physical fights, potential riots, verbal assaults from inmates, loud noises, unsightly scenes or odors, emergent care situations such as overdoses, entering inmate PODs to provide emergent medical care, etc.