24/05/2024

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New York officials blast DocGo for alleged mistreatment of asylum seekers

New York officials blast DocGo for alleged mistreatment of asylum seekers

New York officials blast DocGo for alleged mistreatment of asylum seekers

Telehealth and medical transportation company DocGo has come under fire from Albany County, New York, officials for allegedly failing to provide healthcare and basic services to migrants per a $432 million contract New York City awarded the company in early May.

The allegations, first reported by The New York Times, surround the influx of migrants to New York City and a no-bid contract awarded to DocGo to aid in providing the asylum seekers with housing and services, such as medical care, food, transportation, security, case management and lodging. 

According to authorities in Albany, DocGo allegedly failed to provide the services per the terms of its contract, did not deliver food to the asylum seekers or spoiled food was provided, and lacked proper communication to sufficiently coordinate with local officials and agencies to ensure the adequate care of migrants.

More than 700 migrants are said to be located in the Albany region.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Dan McCoy, Albany County Executive, said the company “gives [officials] a hard time.” He also claimed a food pantry had to spend $6,000 in food and bring it to the local hotel “because one of the food contractors [DocGo] had weren’t delivering the service.” 

In response to the recent allegations, a DocGo spokesperson told MobiHealthNews via email, “These recent assertions are the first time DocGo has learned of the issues cited by Albany City or Albany County Officials.” 

It said the company’s CEO has “maintained a direct, open communications channel with numerous senior county officials that has been used multiple times since the program was launched in late May.” 

DocGo claims the channel was used three weeks ago, on July 14, to communicate with senior members of the county executive’s team and asserts that “no one ever reached out since then to communicate about any of these allegations to DocGo executives.”

The company told MobiHealthNews that if the assertions were factual, this was “unacceptable.” It said it formed a team to look into the claims, and if they are found to be accurate, the company “will take actions to ensure they do not occur again.” 

During DocGo’s second-quarter earnings call this week, CEO Anthony Capone referenced the claims and said the company’s recent polling of more than 500 migrants in its care showed that over 85% “like the program” and feel supported – a statement the company reiterated to MobiHealthNews in the email.  

DocGo also told MobiHealthNews that it has partnered with New York City, including county executives in municipalities across the state of New York; community-based organizations; local non-profits; and local vendors to ensure asylees’ needs are met. 

“In Albany, the vast majority of funds appropriated by New York City for shelter, food, laundry and security are paid to local Albany vendors. Working with a local MWBE-owned partner in Albany, we provide three individually packaged meals per day, meeting dietary restrictions, such as halal and vegetarian options, to every asylee in our program at no cost. To date, DocGo has already provided over 25,500 meals to asylees housed in Albany. All meals meet New York City’s strict nutritional standards. Additionally, DocGo has a dedicated shuttle operating every day that brings asylees to and from medical treatments and ensures access to public transportation,” the company spokesperson told MobiHealthNews

“DocGo welcomed the Albany mayor when she visited two of our hotels in the early stages of the program. And while local officials have never requested to visit our sites since then, we are extending an offer now to both county officials and the mayor to visit them, so they can witness first-hand the quality of our program and the care we are providing.”

McCoy’s office in Albany County did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the statements made above by DocGo.