HAMLET — State inspectors will visit the McLaurin Vocational Center on March 5 to determine whether it can continue to provide social and jobs training to mentally and physically disabled adults from Richmond, Anson and Scotland counties.
The center must undergo the licensure process as if for the first time, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Friday, adding that regulators had put the application on their priority list.
DHHS yanked the license and issued a “close notice” Jan. 5, after the center failed to send in renewal documentation. DHHS said it had sent the center email reminders about the renewal deadline on both Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.
During an interview Feb. 14, Center director Holleigh McLaurin said the center never received the reminders and that she could not find them in six months of back emails.
When the center learned that it had lost its license in January, she said, it remained open long enough to refer its clients to other providers in the Sandhills Center care network of which it is a part. It closed its doors two weeks ago.
Despite being shuttered for two weeks, the center’s voicemail does not mention the closing, still lists opening hours and asks callers to leave messages. On Friday, McLaurin’s personal cellphone message box was full, so she could not be reached for comment.
The Division of Health Service Regulation, part of N.C. DHHS, governs the licensure process of health-care agencies and met Feb. 15 with McLaurin, who hoped to jump-start the center’s relicensing process.
“We renew our license every year,” McLaurin said two weeks ago. “This year, we did not get the renewal packet when we should have, nor did the center administration receive the reminders.
The center remained open after the “close notice” was issued because it was working with the Sandhills Center of Moore County to arrange temporary services for clients during the closure, McLaurin said.
The McLaurin Center is part of a network operated by the Sandhills Center, which manages services addressing mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance abuse from its headquarters in West End.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]