Clients of Boise mental-health business referred elsewhere amid possible IRS probe

Affinity Inc.’s main Boise office, on Emerald Street near Milwaukee.
Affinity Inc.’s main Boise office, on Emerald Street near Milwaukee.

A mental health and vocational rehabilitation company based in Boise is apparently the focus of an IRS investigation and is also accused at the state level of not providing workers’ compensation insurance.

Clients for some Affinity Inc. programs are being referred to other providers. An office it maintains in Nampa appeared closed Wednesday, with a sign on the door referring people to their primary care providers or advising them to call a number for Optum Idaho, the state’s outpatient behavioral-health contractor.

Affinity, headquartered on Emerald Street, also provides developmental disability services and offers a program for substance use disorders.

Call reporter Audrey Dutton at (208) 377-6448 or send an email if you would like to discuss your experiences with Affinity.

The full scope of its problems remains somewhat unclear. But Niki Forbing-Orr, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, said the company’s mental health clinics are the part of business that is “having issues,” and those clinics are “not available for patients right now.” They serve both children and adults.

The company’s developmental disability services are not affected at this point, she said.

“Our first concern is that patients are getting access to services that they need,” Forbing-Orr said. IDHW is working with mental health patients to get them into services with other providers, she said.

Sabrina Swope, the company’s president and CEO, said through an employee Wednesday that the company is still operating and providing limited services. Company leaders had no statement at the time, but the employee said one may be issued later this week.

Employees were at the Boise office on Emerald Street answering phones Wednesday, and the agency was still approved to take Medicaid payments through Optum Idaho. Affinity’s website also lists a McCall office; its phone number was no longer in service Wednesday.

Some local health care providers reported concerns after Friday, when law enforcement visited Affinity’s main office — including at least one officer with a rifle and what appeared to be a protective vest. A Boise Police Department spokeswoman said patrol officers from her agency helped “on the perimeter” while the IRS executed a search warrant. Police referred media questions to the IRS, which declined to comment.

On Nov. 28, the Idaho Industrial Commission sued Affinity Inc., Swope and company secretary James L. Cox, alleging the company hadn’t provided required workers’ compensation insurance between July 5 and Oct. 19 of last year. The commission is a state agency that oversees workers’ compensation in Idaho, including making sure that employers have the coverage required by law to protect workers injured on the job.

The commission is seeking a penalty of $2 per employee per day, totalling $11,984.

Summonses issued in the case gave the company, Swope and Cox 20 days to respond. The court file shows no responses, but also no further actions by the commission or any other parties since.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

Kristin Rodine: 208-377-6447

The Statesman’s Ruth Brown contributed.