Board Chair Says Bond Health Center Will Remain Open

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Bond Community Health Center is open and will remain open.

The center's board chair made that comment as protesters were calling for his and the entire board's removal.

The protest comes after Bond lost nearly a third of its funding due to a failure to properly submit paper work for a long standing federal grant.

About a dozen protesters marched and chanted, "the board needs to go" with signs outside Bond Community Health Center Thursday morning.

They're concerned the center's loss of federal funding effective at the end of the month is already effecting services.

"The big pink van that comes around the neighborhood if you can't get to the doctor, it don't come any more," said Bond patient and protester Ninia Brown.

When asked if he was afraid Bond might close protester Aaron Stevens said, "Yes I am and I don't want that, it needs to stay open."

"Sure we're going to have a smaller footprint than we've had in recent years, but this community health center will continue to operate," said Bond Board Chair Antonio Jefferson.

Jefferson says the center's new budget includes closing the Palmer Avenue foot and back specialty clinic.

Roughly 15 employees have also been laid off and others have left voluntarily leaving 78 total staff.

Psychiatry services are being referred and the mobile van's use has been cut.

The NAACP's Dale Landry met with Jefferson about the center as the protesters were marching outside.

"We're concerned about anything that relates to health care in Tallahassee, in particular when it affects the African American community," Landry said.

Jefferson says it was a team loss when Bond failed to get its application for longstanding federal funding submitted.

Protesters agree.

Reporter: "They say you're responsible, you need to be replaced. Does that seem logical?"

Jefferson: "That's not logical."

"Who's responsible for the funding but the board," Brown said.

Jefferson says all 12 Bond board members are roughly half way through a maximum of six years service.

He doesn't expect any of them to leave anytime soon.

A local medical provider catering to the poor is expanding its services.

Neighborhood Medical Center will be providing women's health and pediatric services at the Leon County Health Department's Orange Avenue facility.

Neighborhood Medical has a space sharing agreement with the health department.

The group started moving into the facility on Monday and is expected to be up and running within the next few weeks.

Additionally, Neighborhood Medical opened a dental clinic in Havana today.

It comes after the group opened a medical clinic there in August.

Neighborhood Medical's expansion comes after it was awarded Federally Qualified Health Center status April 1st.

Neighborhood Medical has been expanding its services for several months.

In addition to its base in Tallahassee's Frenchtown neighborhood, the group set up a clinic on the south side on Pasco Street in December.

Meanwhile, Bond Community Health Center has been cutting its services after losing its federally qualified health center status and the roughly $6-million of funding over 3 years coming with that designation.

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