Cabarrus Homes lands provider contract

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Kathy Chaffin

Kannapolis Citizen

CONCORD — Piedmont Behavioral Healthcare’s decision to award the contract for six group homes to another provider has Rowan Homes officials determined to fight for the agency’s very existence.

“We’re not giving up the fight,” said Executive Director Jay Laurens. “That was the unanimous decision of our board of directors. That’s all I’m at liberty to say at this point.”

Laurens said he was disappointed at Piedmont Behavioral’s decision to award the contract for management of Rowan Homes’ six group homes for developmentally disabled adults to Cabarrus Group Homes Inc. effective Feb. 1. “We did not expect it to go to that point,” he said.

Piedmont Behavioral and Rowan Homes have been in an ongoing dispute about money for years, resulting in the Rowan Homes board’s refusal to sign its contract for the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

Barbara Setzer, president of the Rowan Homes’ Board of Directors, said board members voted to hire legal counsel in the matter. “The attorney on our board (John Basinger) cannot be paid because of our conflict of interest policy,” she said.

Setzer said Dan Coughlin, Piedmont’s area director and CEO, called her on Monday, Jan. 8, and requested a meeting the next day. She and Basinger met with him on Tuesday Jan. 9, at which time Coughlin requested a proposal for continuing to provide the services by the following day.

A proposal was submitted to Piedmont in the time allowed accepting the $41.05 per resident per day rate paid to other group homes. The next evening, Coughlin called and said his staff had met and decided on a different provider.

Coughlin, Piedmont’s area director and CEO, said in the release, “While we want to recognize the genuine commitment of the Rowan Homes Board of Directors to this program and the consumers they have served, they have not been able to develop a successful solution to this problem over the several years that it has existed.”

Coughlin went on to say that Piedmont, as regional manager of mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities services for five counties, “has the challenge of managing limited resources for high quality services to consumers.

“We are committed to paying the same rate for the same service to all providers in our network,” he said. “It is important to be fair. We have seen many mergers and affiliations among providers to achieve operational efficiencies over the past few years, and we expect to see this trend continue just as it has in the business sector.”

Coughlin was out of the office on Tuesday, and Stephan Tomlinson, Piedmont’s public relations director, referred questions about the decision to him.

Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249 or