Mental Health Patients Rejected From Bond Health Center

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By Andy Alcock
August 27, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - There's a new problem at the troubled Bond Community Health Center.

Patients are being turned away due to an insurance issue.

James McCarr and Thomas Dozier are both patients at Bond Community Health Center's behavior health services.

They say they were both surprised when they went for an appointment with psychiatrist Doctor Tariq Halim and were told there would be no service.

"I'm a patient here that needs mental care and I'm to the point where I don't know what else to do," said McCarr.

"I asked why and no one gave me a reason why I can't see him," said Dozier.

According to Bond Board Chair Antonio Jefferson, the reason is Doctor Halim currently has no malpractice insurance.

He says Doctor Halim was supposed to be covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act or FTCA.

But the board discovered on August 16th there's no coverage.

So Bond's attorney Harold Knowles recommended a suspension of services.

"Our prior interim CEO failed to provide the adequate documentation to the insurer," said Jefferson.

In a letter to Bond's current interim CEO, Doctor Halim noted he's been practicing without insurance since February.

And he was promised he'd be covered as part of his contract.

He also accused Bond of allowing him to see patients for at least three days after leaders discovered he didn't have insurance.

Documents also show an application for Doctor Halim's insurance was an agenda item for a board meeting in early June.

"The board in any non-profit is responsible for the administration," said Sylvia Hubbard who rents an office for HIV prevention and case management at Bond's building. "And right now, there's no confidence in the board because there's no administration," she said.

Jefferson says the insurance issue will be resolved by the end of the week.

He says once it is, patients with appointments this week will have them re-scheduled for next week.

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