Virginia company will run dependency program


The board of directors of the Pathways Chemical Dependency Program in Annapolis approved yesterday a three-year contact with Mental Health Management, a private business in McLean, Va., to run the 40-bed center.

Anne Arundel Medical Center, which owns and operates Pathways, signed the contract last week, but it become official yesterday when the five-member board ratified it. Mental Health Management, which will receive a fee from the hospital, will begin running the center July 7.

Fran Counihan, vice president of marketing and public relations for the hospital, said Anne Arundel Medical Center still owns the $4.5 million facility and that its 33 employees will continue to work for the hospital.

Mental Health Management, a national drug and alcohol treatment chain, will manage the center and try to increase its patient load. Because of a lack of patients, Pathways, off Riva Road, has been a financial drain on the hospital since opening in November 1992.

Although the number of patients has increased over the past three months, the center still is losing money. Pathways needs at least 21 patients per month to break even, Ms. Counihan said. It has averaged 17 inpatient clients for the past 90 days.

The hospital hopes Mental Health Management, which runs five Oakview Treatment Centers in Maryland, can bring in more referrals.

"They have a known track record for turning places around, and they have a strong referral base," Ms. Counihan said.

Referrals to Pathways have been hurt in the past by rumors that the center would close, she said.

The center also has struggled to get patients because it opened when insurance companies were cutting back on inpatient coverage. Most companies now are favoring outpatient treatment whenever possible, she said.

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