Latest Prolink News
Aug 3, 2021
ProLink, a temporary-staffing agency in Cincinnati, received two contracts worth more than $191 million combined. The company did not respond to requests for comment. BioReference, a subsidiary of publicly traded Opko Health, based in Elmwood Park, N.J., received contracts worth more than $165 million from the Health Department for diagnostic and antibody testing. Company spokeswoman Hillary Titus declined to disclose details on the figures or make an executive available for an interview. Financial filings suggest the state contracts were a boon to BioReference and Opko, which swung to a profit in the second quarter of last year thanks to the Covid-19 testing business, including the three contracts with the New York Health Department. Opko’s diagnostics division reached $40.9 million in operating income on $251 million in revenue during the second quarter of last year, compared with a loss of $28 million during the same period in 2019. “BioReference’s Covid-19 testing volume has positively impacted our profitability, but we had, until recently, incurred losses since our inception,” Opko wrote in its 2020 annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Health Department has paid BioReference $16 million of the contracted amount to date, according to the state comptroller’s office. Its services have included the operation of drive-through testing sites, antibody testing for first responders and essential workers, rapid testing sites in New York City and a mobile testing center in Westchester County. The Health Department awarded one of its largest contracts—$106 million—in January to Essey, an entity set up by Murray Hill–based employment agency TemPositions to disburse funds to a wider net of staffing companies, Chief Executive James Essey said. Essey said the Health Department reached out to TemPositions in December for help finding about 4,000 workers to vaccinate New Yorkers. The department had worked with TemPositions to provide nurses for the Javits Center’s temporary hospital. Under what Essey described as a blanket contract, TemPositions assembled a consortium of 35 staffing firms that belong to the New York Staffing Association, a trade group that TemPositions helped found. The consortium supplied 4,500 workers across 28 vaccination sites at the height of its operations, Essey said. A number of those sites have since closed. The Health Department has so far paid TemPositions’ consortium nearly $66 million of its contracted amount. “TemPositions and the New York Staffing Association have been honored to be able to work together in this unique public-private partnership to ensure the proper staffing of the vaccination sites while offering employment opportunities, especially in the nonclinical areas, to individuals who had little other work opportunities available,” Essey said. Health Department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said the five companies’ contracts pertained to Covid-19 testing and vaccinations and were selected under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order. They were not subject to pre-audit—which means the state comptroller did not have to approve them beforehand. Hammond declined to disclose additional details about the contracts.