County prison's medical contract expires amid negotiations with PrimeCare

Brandon Addeo
York Dispatch

The contract for York County Prison's health care provider expired, but the medical staff will still work in the prison while a new agreement is ironed out. 

PrimeCare Medical staff will remain in the prison while they and York County work out a new contract, after their previous five-year agreement expired Sept. 30, prison Warden Adam Ogle said. 

York County wants to work out a new agreement with Harrisburg-based PrimeCare because the recent departure of ICE inmates from the county prison, which significantly reduced the daily population of the prison.

More:ICE's decadeslong relationship with York County Prison ends

"PrimeCare Medical and prison management are engaging in discussions to determine the services that are needed since the departure of ICE," Ogle said. "Instead of extending the current contract for one year, I will be asking the Prison Board of Inspectors for a motion to extend our current contract for a month-to-month basis while the new contract is negotiated."

Ogle said he will motion for the month-to-month contract at the prison board's Wednesday meeting. 

The pricing of the previous deal with PrimeCare — worth at least $7.4 million annually — was partly based on the prison having an average daily population of about 2,200 inmates.

Ogle said the prison's average daily population in August was about 950 inmates, and that he expected the average daily population in future months to hover between 1,000-1,200.

More:York County prison's health care contractor hits a snag: ICE detainees

The county prison and PrimeCare are defendants in two recent wrongful death lawsuits filed by inmate families. 

The family of 41-year-old Everett Palmer Jr., an inmate who died in the prison in 2018, is suing PrimeCare and the county, claiming medical staff didn't properly evaluate him and that prison guards beat him. Both PrimeCare and the county have refuted the allegations against them in court filings. 

More:York County closer to renewing contract of prison's healthcare provider amid lawsuits

Another lawsuit was filed after the prison suicide of inmate Veronique Henry, 32, in 2016. The plaintiffs, Henry's estate, claimed she was not put on suicide watch and that the PrimeCare employee who conducted a her mental health evaluation wasn't qualified.

The lawsuit ended in a settlement, with York County agreeing to pay the estate $5,000.

It's not clear if PrimeCare also paid a settlement; The York Dispatch requested court records earlier this year which might have contained that information, but the state's Office of Open Records denied the request claiming a third-party settlement isn't public record. 

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— Reach Brandon Addeo at baddeo@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @BrandonAddeo.