County advertises for inmate medical services, again

Rick Rowan for Ravalli Republic | Aug 25, 2017

Once again, the Ravalli County Commissioners are accepting bids from contractors to provide medical services to inmates at the Ravalli County Detention Center.

In June, the commission was prepared to enter into a $507,000 yearlong contract with Sapphire Community Health after it's previous inmate medical care provider pulled out unexpectedly. However, the commission realized it hadn't put the proposal out for competitive bids, so the county entered a 90-day contract with Sapphire on July 1 for $126,800 and issued a request for proposals.

But when the county went to open the bids on Aug. 15, the commissioners didn't receive any proposals. So it's back to the drawing board.

Janet Woodburn, the chief executive officer for Sapphire Community Health, said they think the current arrangement has worked out very well. But she declined to say whether Sapphire would be submitting a bid for the yearlong contract.

Amy James-Linton, spokesperson for Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, said in an email that the hospital regrets not being able to bid at this time.

"It is important for the hospital to address the current health care needs of the community and due to the difficulty in recruiting medical providers, this makes it impossible for the hospital to bid.” John Bartos, chief executive officer of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital, wrote in the email.

The advertisement for proposal requests will run for two weeks. Bidding opens Sept. 11.