Ramsell Corp. sues state agency for questionable bidding process
When Ramsell Corp., an Oakland-based African-American company that provides health services to California AIDS / HIV patients, submitted an offer to oversee the Department of AIDS Medication Assistance Program (ADAP) California Public Health, she was confident of winning the contract. . (ADAP provides assistance to uninsured or underinsured AIDS / HIV patients, enabling them to access life-saving medicines.) Ramsell had worked with the program since 1997 and had successfully overseen ADAP programs in the counties of San Francisco, Santa Barbara and San Mateo.
However, Eric Flowers, CEO of Ramsell Corp., was surprised when he learned that the offer was awarded to non-state companies. He was even more surprised when he learned that one of the winning bids was $ 9 million more than Ramsell’s.
Flowers asked to reconsider his offer and noticed that employees at the Department of Public Health had made mistakes in assigning points and pricing their offer. He expected the Department of Public Health to cancel the contract and issue a new tender, but instead they decided to stick with new companies. According to Flowers, Department of Public Health officials said it was important that they continue because they “wanted to ensure uninterrupted service.” (The California Department of Public Health never responded to an interview request)
Flowers says he’s baffled by the decision, as Ramsell has worked with the ADAP program for almost 20 years. Flowers was not the only person worried about the transition of the ADAP program to new suppliers. Several community organizations, such as San Francisco and AIDS Project LA, wrote and co-signed a letter expressing their concerns.
“We are concerned that the time allocated to beta testing the system and training enrollment officers is not sufficient. The Office of AIDS has informed us that the new system is still under development, beta testing has not yet started, and registration officer training will not begin until a few weeks before the July 1 transition ” , indicates the letter. “In addition, the system is going from one to three contractors, which will require additional coordination to effectively serve customers. In order to ensure a smooth transition, we believe that additional time is needed to properly test the beta of the new system, train enrollment officers, and ensure the time needed to get feedback on what is working properly and on what needs to be improved.
When Ramsell asked Department of Public Health officials why they decided to award the contract to out-of-state companies with no experience with California’s ADAP program, they were greeted with silence.
“Their reasons have not been released,” Flowers said.
He also said officials from the Department of Public Health claimed to have received complaints about Ramsell Corp., but could not provide any evidence. Ramsell body. is currently pursuing legal action in this regard. The company has filed two lawsuits in Sacramento County Superior Court. One, on the allocation of pharmacy benefit management to Magellan Rx Management of Arizona, and the other, on the allocation of the Enrollment Benefit Management (EBM) program to AJ Boggs & Michigan Co..