UPDATE: Protesters Storm Bond Community Health Clinic

By  | 

UPDATE: July 16, 2014
By: Chris Gros

July 7, 2014

The sign on the door says it's open Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But Sylvia Hubbard says after just about a month of being open, the Bond Community Health Center clinic at the corner of Monroe and Palmer in Tallahassee has shut down.

"Why did you even open it," said Hubbard. "The funding wasn't there so why did you even bother to open it," she said.

Last September we told you, despite $3-millio in grant money over 3 years for patient care, the clinic hadn't opened because federal regulators hadn't approved it.

Bond signed a 10 year lease for the building.

The center is currently paying $8500 a month in rent for the building.
That rent increases to $10,000 a month for the last five years.

Jeffery Pepper of Jefferson Management says Bond leaders approached him several months ago about the property to say they were re-examining their future.

But he says to date they're still paying rent and have given no indication they want out of the lease.

Pepper says the landlord has sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the property re-making the old motorcycle shop into a medical facility.

Bond Board Chair Antonio Jefferson told us last September, their business plan couldn't cover their full lease cost.

Since then Bond has lost millions of dollars in federal and local funding.

Meanwhile, Hubbard also has a lot at stake.

She rents space from Bond's main building to serve HIV and AIDS patients.

"I am on pins and needles because I don't know when we're going to be tossed out, how soon we are because the funding is just disappearing," Hubbard said.

Multiple attempts to speak to Bond leaders about the clinic were unsuccessful.

They announced they were cutting up to 30 jobs in May due to funding cuts.

Updated By: Andy Alcock
May 19, 2014

Bond CHC is laying off up to 30 employees.

The move comes as the center is facing a funding loss of $3.5 million.

CEO Bernard Goodman says the layoffs won't compromise the quality of health care.

According to Bond, Goodman and his board are putting together a new business model.

It includes a 30% reduction in the organization.

"We need this, not just me, everybody in the community needs the Bond clinic because they help, they''re caring. It's just not fair," said Neka Hancock, concerned patient.

Bond lost a major part of its funding when it failed to complete its renewal form, maintaining its long-time status as a federally qualified health center.

After losing that status, Leon County Commissioners slashed the community health center's funding by more than half-- from roughly $800,000, to less than $400,000.

News Release: Bond Community Health Center
May 16, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Due to funding reductions and the sluggish economy Bond Community Health Center (CHC) must lay-off up to thirty of its employees effective this week. Bond CHC is facing a budget loss of $3.5 million dollars. Bernard Goodman, CEO states, “Recent layoffs are unfortunately necessary due to the perplexing and severe decrease in funding but our patients will not suffer any compromise in the quality of health care.

Bond’s Board of Directors and management staff are saddened the organization is forced to lay-off employees, but have pledged that Bond will continue to operate and offer quality services to its patients. Bond’s Board Chair Antonio Jefferson stated “We will work to make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible for our staff and our patients.” Bond Board of Directors and CEO Bernard Goodman have been working tirelessly over the last several weeks to revise Bond’s business model to deliver primary health care in a more innovative and efficient manner, which includes a thirty percent reduction in the organization. “We are assisting our staff members in acquiring new employment to support their families. Bond CHC is fortunate to have good friends and collaborating partners throughout Leon County and the State who continue to support its efforts to deliver care to its patients” said Jefferson.

Bond CHC is currently funded by HRSA through July 2014. Despite the recent funding loss, Bond is the proven and experienced provider of the underserved in Leon and surrounding counties. Flexibility is key to Bond’s continued success and as it pursues other methods of funding in order to continue providing services to the thousands of patients that count on Bond CHC as their medical home. Bond CHC may extend or reduce services depending upon patient demand while it works through the challenges it faces going forward.

Since 1984, Bond Community Health Center, Inc. has been on a mission to reach people throughout North Florida, and currently serves residents of Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Liberty Taylor, Franklin, and Madison counties. Visit www.bondchc.com

By: Andy Alcock
May 14, 2014

Future funding for the troubled Bond Community Health Center faces new uncertainties.

Last week, federal government officials announced Bond had lost more than $6-million over the next three years.

In September, Bond Board Chair Antonio Jefferson told Leon County Commissioners the health clinic would face major cuts if the county withheld funding.

"Twenty-eight percent budget reduction, that means real bodies, real lives are going to be impacted," said Jefferson.

Last July, commissioners voted to suspend $800,000 of taxpayer money to Bond due to its major administrative issues.

That money is also used to leverage state funding.

Ultimately, they voted to fund Bond.

Now, the federal government has cut Bond's funding by more than $2-million a year.

"I can't tell you how it's going to impact the county funding at this moment." said Leon County Commission Chair Kristin Dozier. "But all this information we're building the last couple of weeks will help us make those decisions as we go through the budget cycle," she said.

Last August, Eyewitness News reported Bond had a deal with Tallahassee Community College to look at the clinic's operations.

"The community college wants to be part of the solution and we believe they will be," Jefferson said in August.

But TCC's Kim Moore says after a free report with recommendations, Bond turned down TCC's proposal for a contract.

Bond leaders decided to hire someone internally instead.

The lack of federal money raises other financial problems.

One example is a clinic at the corner of Palmer and Monroe for foot, eye, back and nutrition care.

It was supposed to open about two years ago.

In September, Eyewitness News reported it hadn't opened because the feds hadn't signed off on the care providers or the building.

Now the feds are out of Bond altogether.

And Bond signed a 10 year lease at $8500 a month for the first five years, $10,000 the last five and no business plan to pay for it.

When asked if she thought Bond would survice, Dozier said "I really don't want to engage in speculation at this point. I'm a data person, so I want to wait for the numbers to come to us," she said.

Multiple attempts to get comment from Bond leaders have been unsuccessful.

It started in a church basement 38 years ago.

Now, a local health care provider for poor people is getting big federal dollars and an important title.

A simple sign marks the offices and clinic for the Neighborhood Medical Center.

It's located in the original Lincoln High School in Tallahassee's Frenchtown neighborhood.

When Bond Community Health Center botched its application to keep its long standing status as a Federally Qualified Health Center or FQHC in October, it opened the door for Neighborhood Medical to apply for that status for the first time.

"We wanted to make sure that the Tallahassee community was covered," said Neighborhood Medical Board Chair Alexis McMillan. "And if there was the need for us to be able to apply then we wanted to be able to apply," she said.

Neighborhood Medical administrators not only applied, they won.

"This will give us the opportunity to broaden what we do, help the community, partner with other agencies, partner with Bond," said McMillan.

But Neighborhood Medical's gain is Bond's loss.

Specifically Bond is taking a more than $6-million hit over the next three years.

Bond leaders say they plan to reorganize.

But Bond critic Sylvia Hubbard says the loss of federal dollars makes state and county funding more problematic.

"I hate to say I told you so, but the leadership is still lacking," said Hubbard. "I don't know where they go besides belly up," she said.

"We don't anticipate that that will happen at all, we're not looking forward to that and we don't anticipate that will happen," said McMillan.

Multiple attempts to get comment from Bond Board Chair Antonio Jefferson and Bond CEO Bernard Goodman were unsuccessful.

Bond will lose its federal funding at the end of July.

News Release: Bond CHC

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Bond Community Health Center CEO Bernard Goodman announced today that Bond CHC would not receive a portion of its funding from Health Resource Services Administration ’s (HRSA) Service Area Competition grant for the 2014 cycle. Mr. Goodman stated that while Bond CHC was disappointed in not being
awarded funding, it congratulates Neighborhood Medical Center of Tallahassee on being funded through the competitive process.

Bond CHC is currently funded by HRSA through July 2014. This will provide time for the Board of Directors, Management and Staff to create a new business model that works with the reduction in federal funding and allows for Bond CHC to continue to serve the thousands of patients that find Bond CHC as their medical home.

Since 1984, Bond Community Health Center, Inc. has been on a mission to reach people throughout North Florida, and currently serves residents of Leon, Gadsden, Wakulla, Jefferson, Liberty Taylor, Franklin, and Madison counties. Visit www.bondchc.com.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus