Members of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) were informed this week that the executive who helped rebuild the association after sagging membership more than a decade ago has been suspended amid an investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.
Behavioral Healthcare on April 2 confirmed through multiple sources that members of the association representing most of the country’s largest addiction treatment centers received a communication this week about president and CEO Ronald J. Hunsicker, DMin. The message from NAATP board chairperson Cathy Palm (see full text below) stated that Hunsicker was suspended effective March 31 and that the NAATP board of directors also has initiated its own investigation.
The communication from Palm does not specify the nature of either investigation or of any alleged actions by Hunsicker.
NAATP’s staff office is based in Lancaster, Pa. A spokesperson for the state Attorney General’s office could not be reached this week.
Contacted via e-mail for a comment on the morning of April 2, board chair Palm reported that she would be unavailable for much of the day. Palm is executive director of Tully Hill Corporation in Tully, N.Y.
Some leaders in the addiction treatment community this week expressed support and concern for Hunsicker, with one stating the hope that what is being looked into is a mistake and another expressing the desire that the matter be resolved quickly. Hunsicker has received numerous accolades and honors for his work as an association executive and as an advocate for public policy initiatives related to substance use treatment. These honors have included the prestigious Father Joseph C. Martin Professional Excellence Award from the Father Martin’s Ashley treatment facility in Maryland.
Here is the full text of the communication from Palm that was delivered to NAATP members:
“Effective today, Wednesday, March 31, 2010, Dr. Ron Hunsicker has been suspended from his position as President/CEO of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. This action has been taken as a result of a review of NAATP by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that is currently underway. In light of this review, the Board of Directors of NAATP has initiated its own investigation and felt that it would be inappropriate for Dr. Hunsicker to continue in his position while his actions are being examined.
“As Chair of the Board, I want to assure you that the important and vital work of our organization will continue and we will keep all affected parties informed as we learn more about the direction and scope of the Attorney General’s review.”
(Check the Behavioral Healthcare Web site for further information on the NAATP situation as it becomes available.)