State halts work with Douglas County health contractor after complaints were 'piling up'

County says they will continue contract with Jogan Health

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A Douglas County health contractor, hastily hired during the county’s divorce from Tri-County Health in 2021, has been cut off from new work by the state, recently settled a lawsuit with a former business partner and is under investigation by the state's labor department.

The county health department stands by its decision to hire Jogan Health and says it sees no reason to end their multimillion-dollar contract prematurely. 

Jogan Health was hired by Douglas County in November 2021 after the county board of health approved an order disallowing local mask requirements, resulting in Tri-County halting its COVID services in Douglas County. 

At the time, the state and Tri-County had been working with Jogan on vaccine clinics and both mentioned the company to the new county health department, said county spokesperson Wendy Holmes. 

In January, however, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told Jogan the department was “seriously worried” about the company continuing work in the state, according to public records obtained by Colorado Community Media.

“The complaints are just piling up,” wrote Daniel Rockwell, a supervisor with the state health department, in a Jan. 25 email to Jogan Health. 

He later told Jogan CEO Dan Dietrich that the department would no longer give the company new work. In June, Jogan's final project ended. That same month, Douglas County extended its contract with Jogan until the end of 2022 with a maximum payout of $3.5 million. 

Michael Hill, the public health director for Douglas County, said he was unaware of why the state was no longer working with Jogan.

“I know they did some contract changing as the pandemic was winding down a little bit,” he said. “I assumed it was because of just that slowdown.” 

Dietrich did not respond to detailed questions about CCM's reporting on Jogan.

Hill added that the Douglas County Health Department hasn’t had any complaints or issues with Jogan. 

“I feel confident we’re getting what we’re paying Jogan for,” he said. “They’re very impressive people, they’re very dedicated and I think they’re doing an outstanding job.”

CDPHE paid Jogan $74.3 million for their services before deciding not to extend their contract.  During that time, Jogan  administered more than 175,000 doses of the  COVID-19 vaccine.

"From the state’s perspective, Jogan Health did meet its obligations with the state," according to an emailed statement from CDPHE. 

State complaints

According to public records, the state received complaints that Jogan staff had administered expired doses of vaccines, that leadership from the company displayed “aggressive behavior” toward its staff and that it struggled to provide enough vaccine supplies for clinics.

“We have received complaints from multiple sources and for multiple areas,” Rockwell wrote about the expired vaccines. 

Dietrich responded to the state’s emails about complaints, saying he needed more information to respond to some allegations. Regarding expired doses, he said it was simply staff who misunderstood the difference between manufactured dates and expiration dates and refused to administer the vaccines.

In response to complaints about vaccine clinics, Hill said this hasn’t been an issue because Jogan doesn’t distribute vaccines for the county. Tri-County still runs those services, he said.

The state’s labor and employment department is investigating Jogan following a complaint, a spokesperson for the department said. No further information was released about the nature of the ongoing investigation.

Douglas County litigation

A civil case in the county settled in June shows further allegations that Jogan failed to pay one of its subcontractors $5 million for more than six months while simultaneously purchasing multimillion-dollar homes. A judge granted a temporary protection order against Jogan in March, ordering the company and Dietrich not to use or transfer Jogan’s financial assets.

In October 2021, SMS alerted Jogan that the company was past due on its payments for services, according to the lawsuit.

Public records show that in September 2021, a company called Jogan Properties Colorado, also formed by Dietrich, purchased a $3 million home in Parker. In December, another Dietrich company called Jogan Properties Hawaii purchased a $3.5 million home in Hawaii.

When the lawsuit was filed in April, the debt to SMS was still owed, according to the document. 

The lawsuit filed by SMS also claims that Jogan used false credentials to gain legitimacy and work with them and then used SMS’s background and abilities to gain contracts with CDPHE, acting as if the accomplishments were Jogan's. 

The same format and references used by Jogan for its state health department application appear in one from SMS to work for the Louisiana Health Department.

Garner Environmental, one of the companies listed on Jogan’s application as a reference for their work, told Colorado Community Media they have “no association” with Jogan “either directly or through a subcontractor.”

Three times since Jogan Health was formed in January 2021, the Colorado Department of Revenue contacted Dietrich regarding unpaid taxes, according to court documents. The latest was in June. All cases were closed the same day they were filed. 

Jogan Health is one of eight companies founded by Dietrich since 2020. He also founded Jogan 5G, Jogan Security, Jogan Traffic and Jogan Thermal Checkpoint. 

In June, the SMS lawsuit was settled out of court. 

Douglas County responds

Douglas County’s health director Michael Hill says none of the information he’s heard about Jogan has an impact on their current contract.

“As long as they’re doing what we’ve hired them to do and their invoices check out and the state keeps paying us for paying those invoices, it would not be in the best interest of Douglas County to discontinue at this point and then have to re-invent that wheel on the fly, again, in a pandemic,” he said. 

Hill says that while the county hasn’t seen any issues with Jogan’s work, new information about the organization could impact future contracts with them.

A Douglas County records custodian said there are no applications or background information from Jogan for their request to work with the county and the company was considered to have already been vetted by the state. 

The state pays for Jogan’s services with Douglas County through federal grant money.

Split from Tri-County 

When Douglas County first voted to leave Tri-County’s jurisdiction, they entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the agency that stated the county would continue to receive all public health services from Tri-County until at least 2023. 

Under the IGA, the county health department is in control of things like governance and county-wide public health orders. 

In October, the county health board began considering a health order that would give any individual the ability to opt out of mask mandates in the county and for parents to be able to opt out their children. 

Jennifer Ludwig, deputy director of Tri-County and soon-to-be director of the Arapahoe County Health Department, emailed the Douglas County board of health president, calling the action “greatly concerning” and saying it would make it difficult for Tri-County to continue providing COVID services.

After the order was approved on Oct. 8, Ludwig told Douglas County they would no longer provide COVID-19 services, and by early November, the county chose Jogan to do so instead.

In an email sent through a spokesperson, Douglas County staff member Jon Surbeck said the county looked at six other contractors before choosing Jogan. 

“Jogan Health offered an on-site staffing solution within Douglas County that we could easily visit/monitor and utilized secure computers rather than personal devices,” according to the email.

Hill said Douglas County is not considering ending its contract with Jogan early.

“We would be right back in the frying pan trying to do an emergency solicitation for somebody to take over,” he said. “We aren’t staffed up to take on that much work, and Tri-County isn’t going to take it back up.”

Jogan, public health, COVID-19, Tri-County, Douglas County

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