Florida Bulldog

Amid intrigue and suspicion, Broward sheriff to award $145 million jail healthcare contract

By Dan Christensen, 

Broward County Jail
Broward County Jail

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel is expected soon to award a contact worth as much as $145 million over the next five years for the delivery of healthcare services to the county’s approximately 5,000 jail inmates.

The road to a deal has been full of turns, with intrigue and suspicion around every curve.

Seven companies submitted sealed proposals last month in what amounted to a second round of bidding after BSO canceled its initial solicitation last March. The cancellation, after proposals were received, opened and bidders shortlisted, allowed vendors to see each other’s prices and plans.

Three companies are on BSO’s current shortlist: incumbent Armor Correctional Health Services, Corizon Health (formerly known as Prison Health Services) and Wexford Health Sources.

One that’s not: Nashville-based Correct Care Solutions, a previous finalist with a five-year price that was $8.5 million lower than Miami-based Armor’s offer. Correct Care did not get a single vote from the three-person BSO selection committee that evaluates proposals and makes a recommendation to the sheriff.

Bid records obtained by using Florida’s public records law also show that Armor has lowered its one-year price for comprehensive medical, dental and mental health care by $400,000 since learning it was previously underbid. Still, its current proposal of $26.7 million is $1.9 million higher than its nearest remaining competitor, Corizon, which also cut its bid price. It is also $1.5 million, or nearly six percent higher, than the $25.6 million it currently charges BSO.

Wexford was the highest bidder at $26.8 million.

Each company also offered slightly lower price options if BSO agreed to assume more risk for providing certain offsite services that are now covered.


The bidding is for a three-year contract with two one-year renewal options. Last time, BSO’s bid specifications called for bidders to supply annual pricing for five years. This go-round, only one-year prices were sought.

The lack of specificity about prices beyond the contract’s first year makes it difficult to compare costs over the term of the deal, and offers BSO – and Broward’s taxpayers – no assurances as to future contract costs.

“Even though price proposals were provided, the entire contract, including contract amount, is subject to negotiation,” said sheriff’s spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion. “Subsequent years after the initial year will be negotiated based on the contract amount for the initial year.”

The sheriff’s pricing formula for the contract’s later years, if there is one, was not disclosed.

In the initial round of bidding, the vendors calculated price by tacking on between 3.5 and 4.0 percent for each additional year. Armor, for example, offered BSO a five-year price of $145.6 million.

Five-year prices were not provided this time. But using the same factors, Armor’s projected five-year price would be $2 million less than it bid six months earlier.

Here’s a comparison of the projected five-year proposals for the current finalists compared with their original five-year price offers:

Current                                  November 2012

Armor:        $143.6 million                         $145.6 million

Corizon:      $130.0 million                         $133.6 million

Wexford:     $144.6 million                            did not bid

While BSO would save millions by accepting Corizon’s bid, there are numerous considerations in choosing a vendor, including staffing and care management.

One key tool to evaluate the competency and reliability of vendors is to require them to disclose their recent litigation history.


In various ways, transparency is an issue is BSO’s current inmate care solicitation.

Most significantly, BSO does not post proposals online or solicit public input. By law, proposals are secret for 30 days after they are opened, or until BSO announces an intended decision. After that, they are available, but not online.

Broward Sheriff Scott Israel
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel

Transparency is also a problem regarding the vendors’ litigation histories, an indicator of past performance and competency.

Armor supplied BSO with a 14-page list of 150 malpractice lawsuits that it said were filed against it in Florida and elsewhere since 2009, including 22 cases in Broward.

Armor did not provide BSO with requested case numbers, and identifies plaintiffs only by their initials – making it difficult to track cases. But in its proposal, Armor noted that while nearly half of those lawsuits were dismissed it has never had a judgment against it and “we have settled only nine lawsuits companywide since 2004.”

A record of 150 lawsuits in three years, most filed by aggrieved inmates without a lawyer, is not a confidence builder. But it is at least a record that’s available for the public to see and scrutinize.

BSO has declined to release the litigation histories submitted by Corizon and Wexford, indicating without elaboration that they are exempt from disclosure under Florida’s public records laws. Corizon asserted in its proposal that its court litigation history is “confidential and proprietary.” has asked BSO to reconsider its decision and release the records.

Questions about the inmate healthcare procurement are not confined to the proposals themselves.

One of the three members of BSO’s selection committee who voted to recommend Armor is Dr. Nabil El Sanadi.

El Sanadi is BSO’s chief medical director. He is also chief of emergency medicine for Broward Health.


El Sanadi had an apparent conflict of interest when he cast a vote for Armor. The reason: Broward Health, his employer, wants Armor to win the contract.

Armor’s proposal, which includes Broward Health’s endorsement, says that it currently contracts with Broward Health to provide 24-hour hospital services to county inmates.

Should Armor prevail it “will continue to use…the North Broward Hospital District (Broward Health), encompassing Broward Health Medical Center, Broward Health North and Broward Health Coral Springs,” says Armor’s proposal.

Another disturbing, yet unconfirmed report from insiders says that another top BSO official had a private meeting with one vendor’s representatives during the “cone of silence” period when such contact is illegal.

Then there is the presence of William Rubin, a paid lobbyist for both Armor and BSO.

The sheriff’s lawyer, Ron Gunzburger, has said Rubin has been told that neither he nor his Fort Lauderdale firm, The Rubin Group, can lobby BSO on behalf of Armor. Rubin, however, is a friend and supporter of Israel and Rubin’s contract with BSO does not prohibit such lobbying.

Sources have said Rubin is working with ex-Sheriff Ken Jenne, who first hired Armor in 2004 after receiving substantial campaign contributions from Armor and its owner Dr. Jose Armas, to help Armor prevail. Jenne later served time in federal prison on unrelated corruption charges.

Armor is currently supporting Jenne’s son, Evan Jenne, in his run for a state house seat from South Broward. On June 17, the company contributed $500 to Jenne’s campaign.

The Rubin Group contributed $500 to Evan Jenne’s campaign in March.

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7 responses to “Amid intrigue and suspicion, Broward sheriff to award $145 million jail healthcare contract”

  1. Broward Resident Avatar
    Broward Resident

    The sad and disturbing truth is that BSO has been a hotbed for cronyism when assigning contracts for decades. There are no procurement procedures that ensure a fair, equitable, and transparent process. Nor is there any recourse for those who feel they have been home-towned or unfairly judged. This was even more apparent under Lamberti. I was hoping for better under Israel.

  2. Dick Norris Avatar

    Surely you don’t expect the Sheriff’s office to divulge confidential information that would otherwise compromise their ability to get the best deal for Broward, or do you? This smells like a smear job in the making against an agency just doing it’s job properly for the people of Broward.

  3. Beef People Avatar

    Colonel Gary Palmer was courted by Armor while attending the NSA conference. He joined them for a steak and lobster dinner and yes it was during the cone of silence. However, in his defense his boss doesn’t see anything wrong with taking a 1 week Caribbean cruise for 5 on a $35 million dollar yacht for only $1,500. What more do you expect?

  4. Armor is not the only shady inmate medical provider…just saw that Corizon has been kicked out of Louisville, Kentucky for poor services linked to numerous inmate deaths.

  5. Judith lieber Avatar

    I Don’t get how Governor Rick Scott’s residence is the Governor’s Mansion, rather than a jail cell

    The worst ever fraud committedith against Medicare. Admission of guilt that carried with it the highest fine, ever paid for the fraud. $1.7 Billion, with a B.

  6. Judith lieber Avatar

    I intended the word committed.

  7. Before Armor’s Disaster-Care, there was NUMC’s Tragic-Care Solutions causing deaths at NCCC…

    When NUMC provided care in the past, there were also terrible problems, including a rash of suicides and Justice Department findings that correction officers’ handling of inmates who needed medical attention, as well as the care itself, needed to be improved and closely monitored.

    In 2010 and 2011, seven people died in jail custody, including five suicides, according to the NYCLU. Authorities indicated that some of those deaths might have been prevented if the jail had provided adequate medical and mental healthcare, the NYCLU said in its lawsuit.

    Nassau County Sheriff Michael J. Spasato stands by Armor. “Talking about kick-backs and pay-to-play.”

    When Mangano administration officials were pressed after the state attorney general sued the firm, one justification for keeping Armor was that its contract indemnified Nassau against claims involving company actions.

    In the past, two jail oversight committees have done very little while wrongful deaths have occurred. Hospital and county officials, including the judges who order incarceration, must keep a better watch this time around.

    Laura Curran: NUMC a symbol of ‘culture of corruption’
    Updated October 3, 2017 6:41 PM

    Democratic Nassau County executive candidate Laura Curran on Tuesday called the county’s public hospital “another symbol of the culture of corruption,” citing recent reports about hiring practices and withholding of public records.
    Curran, a county legislator from Baldwin, stood across the street from Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. She called the hospital a “critical resource”…

    Loconsolo repeatedly reminded lawmakers that the allegations that Armor was negligent in the inmates’ deaths haven’t been proven in court. She also noted that inmates died when Nassau University Medical Center was the jail’s health-care provider… 

    She is married to Nassau Sheriff Michael Sposato—the jail’s top official.

    The jail switched its health care provider from NUMC to Armor Correctional Health Services, a private company, on June 1, Loconsolo said. She did not say why the switch was made.

    Four suicides in one year… Nassau University Medical Center,

    “What About Darryl Woody!” January 3, 2011, while “still” on 1to1 [constant] Suicide Supervision at NUMC under doctors treatment. His death was capture on Video Surveillance Cameras at NUMC and NCCC. The Medical Center blames NCCC. The Jail blames NUMC. Both conspire to hide the truth about Darryl’s true cause of “death by asphyxiation”_a homicide! Jury selection: Dec. 2018 at the (corrupt) Supreme Courts in Mineola, N.Y. Index: 017721/2011
    January 3, 2011: Darryl Woody, 44, of Westbury. He hanged himself despite being on suicide watch. Days before the hanging the depressed schizophrenic had slit his wrists in the jail following his arrest on Christmas Eve on domestic violence charges.
    Late October 2010: Herve Jeannot, 29, of Deer Park. Tied bedsheets into a noose and slipped it around his neck hours after he was found guilty of first-degree murder.
    Early October 2010: Gasparino Godino, 31, of Bethpage. Used bedsheet to hang himself within a day of being jailed on robbery and drug charges.

    January 3, 2010: Eamon McGinn, 32, of Brooklyn, hanged himself with a sheet in the jail after being incarcerated on a burglary charge.
    Records: Nassau knew of Armor lawsuits before approving contract

    Nassau jail’s potential medical provider facing lawsuits

    Nassau lawmakers approve NUMC jail health care contract
    Updated July 10, 2017 9:54 PM

    Nassau lawmakers on Monday approved a contract that returns the role of providing inmate health care to county employees, cutting ties — at significant cost — with a for-profit company critics have blamed for a series of deaths at the jail.

    The county legislature’s Rules Committee voted unanimously for a two-year, $42 million pact with Nassau Health Care Corp., which runs the Nassau University…
    Records: Nassau knew of NUMC’s lawsuits before approving contract. 

    Before Armor’s disaster-Care, there was NUMC’s Tragic-Care Solutions causing deaths at NCCC.

    ”Darryl Woody, 44 years old, committed suicide on January 3, 2011, while at the NUMC Prison Ward. The New York State Commission of Correction, an independent state entity that investigates deaths in custodial facilities, reported that his death “may have been prevented but for the grossly inadequate psychiatric care provided him in the jail and hospital, and the lack of appropriate supervision by the NUMC.” The Commission of Correction further reported that Mr. Woody had a history of mental instability and had previously attempted suicide once before entering jail and once in December 2010 while on suicide watch in the jail. The Commission’s report recommended investigations into the jail’s booking, supervision and staffing procedures, as well as investigations for “gross negligence and gross incompetence” of the two doctors who treated Mr. Woody.

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