Migrant services firm DocGo, having recently secured a significant deal with New York City, is now ambitiously pursuing a massive $4 billion contract with the federal government. The company aspires to offer essential medical services to asylum seekers arriving at the United States’ southern border.
Recent Deal and Company’s Ambitions
The CEO of DocGo, Anthony Capone, believes that their $432 million emergency contract with New York City has endowed them with significant credibility to compete for this federal opportunity. Speaking at Canaccord Genuity’s 43rd annual growth conference, Capone said, “Now that we are one of the largest care providers for asylum seekers in the country, it gives us enormous credibility. And we have references from the city who handles the largest amount.”
DocGo’s previous agreement with the city covers providing food, medical care, and housing for migrants.
Controversies Surrounding DocGo
However, since being awarded the city contract to help manage an influx of tens of thousands of asylum seekers, DocGo’s operations have been shrouded in controversies.
An investigation by the New York Department of State revealed that over 50 security guards hired to safeguard asylum seekers transported upstate from NYC by a migrant contractor lacked proper authorization.
The two security firms, Trace Assets Protection Service L.L.C. and Wawanda Investigations and Security Company L.L.C., were given two business days to address the issue or risk suspension or potential license revocation.
Deputy Secretary of State for Business Development Whitney A. Clark pointed out that many of these guards, particularly in Erie and Albany counties, were in breach of state law, and their employment status with the security firms was ambiguous. Both firms were subcontractors for DocGo.
A spokesperson for DocGo said they began an investigation upon receiving the state’s letter and clarified that “no personnel who are not registered with the state have been deployed to work at our sites” since obtaining the letter.
In May, Mayor Eric Adams granted DocGo—a company that transitioned from a COVID-testing entity to a migrant-shelter provider—a substantial $432 million emergency contract without competitive bidding.
The contract was to assist in transporting asylum seekers to multiple upstate hotels as the city faced challenges accommodating them due to the overloaded shelter system.
However, after securing the contract, allegations emerged against DocGo for enticing migrants with offers of employment opportunities and legal aid, only to neglect them upon arrival.
Reports from asylum seekers accommodated in Albany hotels convey feelings of betrayal, with some even stating they were misled by DocGo employees. Further claims suggest intimidation by DocGo’s security personnel.
Following these complaints, New York Attorney General Letitia James declared that it was probing DocGo for potential breaches of state or federal regulations concerning the treatment of asylum seekers under their supervision.
Governor Kathy Hochul also called for an in-depth review of the non-competitive contract due to concerns arising from multiple complaints.
On August 10th, Hochul said in a statement, “We are doing a review and working with the city to make sure that [DocGo] is meeting all of their contractual obligations because I’m not convinced that that is happening in every area.”
She added, “It’s a concern to me. They are being paid a lot of money from the city, and we want to work with the city to ensure that all requirements are being met.”
“I would say I’m not satisfied as I’m standing here, but I’m going to be reviewing this,” the Governor concluded.
In reaction to these early allegations, DocGo mentioned that they were investigating the claims.
The company said in a statement, “DocGo has assembled a team to look into these assertions and ascertain the facts. If any of these assertions are found to be true, the company will take actions to ensure they do not occur again,”
Republicans’ Criticism of “No-Bid” Emergency Contracts
Members of New York’s House Republican delegation also criticized both Adams and Hochul for issuing billions in “no-bid” emergency contracts, one of which was given to DocGo in response to the migrant crisis.
In a strongly worded letter addressed to the two Democratic leaders, the Republican representatives expressed their “serious concerns” about these contracts.
They questioned the wisdom of allocating more federal funds to New York to address the crisis.
The letter, led by Hudson Valley Representative Mike Lawler, stated, “These contracts represent a continuing trend of irresponsible spending that will continue to drag down New York.”
The Federal Contract and Company’s Reach
Recently, DocGo has extended its services, registering about 3,000 migrants for New York State Medicaid. The city currently accommodates around 60,000 asylum seekers in all five boroughs.
The federal contract, which DocGo proposed about a year ago, spans five years and is worth over $4 billion.
If secured, DocGo would be responsible for providing health care to asylum seekers within 72 hours of their entry.
A company spokesperson mentioned, “As of now, we have not yet submitted our revised proposal and are in the process of evaluating the revised amendment documents.”
DocGo’s influence isn’t confined to the U.S., with CEO Capone noting their expansive network, catering to roughly 73,000 patients across the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.