Why A Venerable Coconut Grove Healthcare Center Is Losing Federal Funding
The well-regarded Helen Bentley Family Health Center, a fixture in Coconut Grove, will be losing almost to $2 million in federal funding next year.
The Miami Herald says the funding represents approximately 17 percent of the center’s operating budget. The center will continue to provide services but laid off several support staff due to the reduction.
The comprehensive primary healthcare facility has served residents, particularly those who are uninsured or low-income, in the West Grove and neighboring areas on an ability-to-pay basis since opening its doors in 1971 as the Coconut Grove Family Health Center in Virrick Park.
Dr. Caleb Davis, CEO and president of the Bentley clinic, said that the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) decided in September to pull the funds because of the center’s failure to comply with certain financial management practices.
Davis attributed these findings to mere oversight by the center but found no fault with Bentley’s finance office. "It’s not that people were consciously not responding to the audit findings," Davis explained. "It was just human error.”
He emphasized that HRSA’s decision was not based on any inadequacies in patient care nor any financial misdealing. The Bentley center will still be able to receive payments under federal insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Dr. Davis said the center would also continue its sliding fee scale.