Former Connections CEO agrees to pay $300,000 to settle federal lawsuit

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Catherine Devaney McKay, the former CEO of Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. (“CCSP”), has agreed to pay $300,000 to resolve alleged violations of the federal Controlled Substances Act. McKay did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.

Connections earlier made a separate $15.4 million federal settlement over similar allegations against the nonprofit

Before the sale of its assets in bankruptcy, CCSP provided mental health and addiction treatment services at numerous locations throughout Delaware. The state ended a contract with Connections for work in the state corrections system. At one time, Connections was one of the largest nonprofits in the state.

In April 2021, the United States filed a lawsuit alleging that CCSP and three of its former executives, including McKay, had failed to keep proper records of the company’s use of controlled substances, including methadone and buprenorphine, in its treatment of patients with substance use disorders.  Among numerous other issues, during a March 2019 audit by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), CCSP was unable to properly account for tens of thousands of doses of controlled substances at its Millsboro location, which were later determined to have been transferred to other CCSP facilities without proper documentation.

On June 15, 2021, CCSP completed a sale, overseen by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, of its assets and operations to Conexio Care, Inc. and Coras Wellness and Behavioral Health, which are now providing the mental health and addiction treatment services formerly provided by CCSP.  On November 1, 2021, the U.S. District Court for Delaware entered a consent judgment in the amount of $1,621,571 against CCSP.  The settlement announced today resolves the United States’ separate claims against McKay for her individual role in CCSP’s violations.

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“Over the many years that she served as CEO of Connections, Ms. McKay repeatedly failed to take steps to address the company’s compliance failures,” said U.S. Attorney Weiss.  “Those failures increased the possibility of drug diversion, putting at risk the very population that Connections purported to serve.  Where executives ignore their individual duty to ensure that the companies they manage comply with the laws that protect public safety, my office will continue to seek to hold them personally responsible for those violations.”

“We applaud the support of U.S. Attorney Weiss and his office in securing this significant settlement against McKay,” said Thomas Hodnett, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Philadelphia Field Division.  “Treatment programs such as CCSP have an obligation to properly account for controlled substances such as methadone and buprenorphine that are used for medication assisted treatment.  Settlements such as this are a mechanism to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Controlled Substances Act.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dylan J. Steinberg and Laura D. Hatcher represented the United States in this action.

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