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There are two generally accepted ways to select a provider. One method is to informally solicit a proposal from one or more providers. This reduces the pressure and the time required to get a contract program started. Another method is for the County to provide information via a Request for Proposal (RFP) to Southern Health Partners (and potentially other bidders) requesting a proposal for medical services. Typically the proposal includes general description of the program of care, staffing required, and the pricing to the County. Factors to be considered in the selection process include overall pricing, additional benefits of contracting including liability protection, and the cost of contracting versus the current program for inmates. Click here for a generic Request for Proposal (RFP) (1) in Microsoft Word format or (2) in PDF format.
If an RFP process is used, the time needed varies from three to five months to actual start-up. The major factors that can extend the process are pre-bid conference schedules, question/answer timing, interviews of bidders, and negotiations with more than one provider.
How much time is needed for contracting if the decision to get a comprehensive provider is not subject to an RFP process?
The process can move from start to finish (start-up) in 30 to 60 days or less in an emergency situation.
Southern Health Partners contracts with counties are usually for one year, with two annual extensions already priced, which automatically renew without negotiations. The contracts are continued for this three-year period of time unless either party chooses not to renew at the end of any contract year. However, all of our contracts include a "no fault" termination provision that allows either party to terminate with a short notice period (usually 60 days) without giving a reason.
SHP is a corporation set up under the laws of the state of Delaware, and the same corporate entity is used to contract with all of our customers? We do not incorporate a new entity in each county where we operate in order to avoid liability.
Southern Health Partners always tries to utilize nurses from the local community and county. In most cases we also look to find a physician locally, however, we often have a physician already working with us at a nearby county facility. Typically this physician has a proven ability to manage medical care in the correctional setting and we may consider this doctor to be the best choice in many cases.
What percentage of a typical contract’s price is actually spent by Southern Health Partners locally in the County or nearby counties?
We expect to spend between 60% and 80% of the contract price in paying local wages to employees and contracted physicians, and to local agencies, hospitals, etc. We have found the percentage will not vary greatly whether a local contractor is retained or a national/regional provider (such as Southern Health Partners) is selected to perform the contracted services. Since one of the main reasons to contract is usually to reduce or control costs, we seek out the lowest cost provider for pharmacy, medical supplies, etc. and these items are most often not purchased locally due to our goal of gaining efficiencies.
The medical liability insurer for Southern Health Partners names the County as an additional insured party under the policy terms. This is usually not the case with other providers, and in fact some other providers may not have insurance at all covering the provider entity (corporation, partnership, etc.). Only the doctor or nurse may have insurance coverage, leaving a big hole in the liability protection.
How can I find out about Southern Health Partner's success in other facilities of a like size and complexity as our County jail?
If you request a proposal from us, we will include with your proposal the names of contracted facilities in your area that you may contact regarding our services. Additionally, you may simply call or email our Sales and Marketing team and ask for more information on this topic.
If we contract with Southern Health Partners and the population of the jail increases or decreases significantly during the contract period, how will SHP manage the relative cost of these changes?
Our desire is to stay current on all major changes at each customer's facility. Upon notification of a major change, we would meet with a representative of the County to work on altered contract terms that would meet the needs of the County.
Does Southern Health Partners provide all policies and procedures covering the program of care for inmates in contracted facilities?
Yes, we develop a P&P manual for each site, and we adapt the policies to the needs of each customer, as well as getting approval from the Sheriff, Jailer, Warden, or other County official. Some providers may just try to assume the previous P&P used, which might then be interpreted to be the County’s policies in any legal proceedings, requiring the County officials to defend the policies.
Are there restrictions on competition in the future if Southern Health Partners is contracted to handle the medical care for our inmates?
No, we do not use non-compete language in any of Southern Health Partners contracts with Counties. Furthermore, we would strongly encourage that these terms be avoided in all cases when contracting with providers of care. The County should be free to choose a new provider at any time, and should not be restricted in hiring the contractor’s personnel as of the termination date.
SHP works as a steward of the County’s money, and in being fiscally responsible, will negotiate discounts with outside medical providers thereby ensuring the best price we can get for the County. SHP does not “mark up” or charge a fee for this service. The money saved on discounts is the County’s, not SHP’s.
SHP is diligent at staying on top of billing mandates that affect County government. For example, if a new law is enacted which grants to counties certain discounts for jail inmate medical charges, then SHP will notify its customer about the new law, and we will begin the re-pricing process on the effective date.