The city of Baltimore will halt work with Lutherville-based psychologist firm Psychology Consultants, also known as PCA, following allegations of improperly screening police officers.
According to the August 7 statement issued by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, city employees, police officers or family members will not be referred to PCA, until investigations from the city’s law department and the office of inspector general are complete.
The group is facing allegations that it improperly screened police officers during mental health evaluations.
“Mayor Rawlings-Blake has decided to indefinitely suspend services performed by Psychology Consultants Associated P.A. pending the outcome of ongoing investigations,” Kevin Harris, spokesman for the Mayor’s Office, said in the statement.
“Through ongoing litigation, additional information has come to the mayor’s attention which makes it necessary to temporarily suspend our contract with PCA until further notice. Because this matter remains an open investigation, we cannot comment further, however the mayor’s actions today should not be interpreted as any determination of liability on behalf of PCA. The mayor will make a final determination on the status of PCA’s contract at the conclusion of the open investigations to determine if PCA has satisfactorily met the terms of their contract with the city.”
In the meantime, the Towson group Atlantic OccuPsych will now perform services like pre-hire mental examinations and fitness for duty exams.
The mayor’s office said that employees who would like to continue working with Psychology Consultants Associated can do so.
On the same day of the mayor’s announcement, city council president Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced that he would introduce legislation during the council’s next meeting calling for a hearing into the matter.
“We owe the taxpaying citizens of Baltimore a full accounting of its current multi-year, $730,000 contract with the healthcare provider in question,” Young said in the statement.
“Along with the mayor and my colleagues on the city council, we’re all extremely concerned and alarmed by the recent allegations that have the potential to negatively impact the health of our brave officers and the citizens they’re sworn to protect and serve.”
PCA did not return calls by deadline. Richard G. Berger, an attorney for PCA’s president, Dr. Kenneth Sachs, and the company, told the Baltimore Sun that Sach’s denied the allegations. “He has not violated any regulations, and that was supported by a decision by the Maryland State Police,” Berger, told the paper.
The next meeting of the Baltimore City Council is August 17.