Georgia officials rewarded an Alpharetta-based medical company with a generous no-bid contract and cited a provision in state law that allowed them to do so during emergencies — in this case, COVID-19.

Jackson Healthcare provides medical staff to several of Georgia’s hospitals and nursing homes through its subsidiary Healthcare Workforce Logistics (HWL). Company CEO Rick Jackson donated generously to Georgia’s top politicians, including Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Jackson’s company subsequently received a $434 million no-bid contract. Company officials said politics “had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

The Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH) oversees the state’s hospitals and nursing homes.

DCH spokesman Charles Strong addressed the matter through an email to The Georgia Star News Wednesday.

“[A] no-bidding process was required to contract with HWL,” Strong said.

“Under the declared public health emergency, DCH took appropriate action as authorized under the Georgia Procurement Manual (GPM), Section 1.3.5, Emergency Purchases.”

HWL, Strong said, supplies health care workers to hospitals and nursing homes that direly need support due to COVID-19. He also said DCH officials work within a set budget to meet the staffing augmentation needs of Georgia’s hospitals and nursing homes.

“DCH personnel oversee the costs associated with each facility’s request for augmentation,” Strong said.

“Additionally, DCH personnel review invoices against the contract before proceeding to payment.”

Press secretaries and other communications staff members for Kemp, Duncan, and Raffensperger have not returned The Star News’ requests for comment this week.

HWL’s contract with the state expires in March.

Jackson launched Jackson Healthcare in 2000. The company is among the three largest healthcare staffing firms in the United States. Jackson Healthcare crossed the billion-dollar annual revenue mark in 2018, the company’s website said.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.