A Carroll County drug abuse prevention and treatment program that closed its doors last year after more than 40 years did so because the organization was unable or unwilling to comply with grant requirements set by the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration, according to a state report.
came after a funding dispute with the Carroll County Health Department.
According to a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report (see attached PDF), the state department launched an investigation into the closing of Junction last July after the county health department and several Junction employees not named in the report accused the organization of mishandling grant funds, as well as misusing funds and resources.
According to the report, Junction struggled with converting from a purely grant- supported operation to a partially fee-based service provider.
Junction Board member Kevin Dayhoff maintains that . He said that Junction was a reputable long-standing organization run by people who were dedicated to helping their clients.
Being accused of "mishandling funds" is misleading Dayhoff said.
"The reality of it is that in recent years the Maryland bureaucracy for administering drug treatment and health care has become increasingly confusing, contradictory, and frustrating," Dayhoff said.
Dayhoff asserted that many other organizations are also struggling to transition to the new billing system.
"The transition in Maryland from grant funding to getting insurance companies to pay for drug treatment is a failure," Dayhoff told Patch in an email. "It has caused lots of problems, especially for a small community nonprofit with limited resources. Dealing with insurance companies was particularly difficult."
Larry Leitch, Carroll County Health Department health officer, said that grant funds were withheld from Junction last spring because the organization mishandled state grant money by failing to accurately bill insurance companies.
Leitch said the state's Drug and Alcohol Abuse Administration implemented a new business model five years ago that forced substance abuse treatment agencies to bill insurance companies to cover operating costs.
Leitch said the closing of Junction was unfortunate, he said he believes that the health department could have worked with Junction to get them back on track.
With the exception of one complaint, detailed below, the DHMH report found that the concerns brought forth by Junction staff were "determined to be invalid or were resolved during the course of the investigation."
Investigators concluded that the Junction board of directors assumed unnecessary risk in 2008 by investing $9,767 of donated monies in an investment fund administered by the Community Foundation of Carroll County Inc.
Investigators said that the balance of the fund, $9,299, was used to pay the organization's expenses at the time of Junction's closing and did not benefit clients as that money was originally intended. The investment lost $468 over a four year period.
The Carroll County Youth Service Bureau absorbed many of the clients who were being treated by Junction after its closing.
For more information on this story, see these previous Patch articles: