Bond Community Health Center Receives Additional Funding
By Giulia Marsico
After hitting a few obstacles, with the firing of a top administrator and the loss of its Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) status due to an incomplete application in 2013, Bond Community Health Center (BCHC) has hurdled over its challenges.
BCHC received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, gaining their FQHC designation back in addition to a two-year extension for their Ryan White Part D grant.
The Ryan White Part D grant funds medical care and supports services for uninsured women, infants, children and youth (up to the age of 25) who are HIV positive or are diagnosed with AIDS.
Dr. Temple O. Robinson, chief executive officer of BCHC, believes the additional funding will bring many opportunities to the center such as expanding resources to help target groups who are most vulnerable.
“Additional funding means that Bond Community Health Center will be able to continue to disrupt the spread of HIV and treat the most vulnerable populations such as youth, who are often the unsuspecting victims of HIV.
“Unfortunately, the numbers (of AIDS cases) of young men who have sex with men has risen significantly as well. This grant will definitely target this population,” said Robinson.
The demands that come with treating HIV/AIDS patients are staggering. According to the Florida Department of Health, in Florida alone there were 8,554 reported AIDS cases from 2012 to 2014. In Leon County, 84 reported AIDS cases were men and 39 were women.
City Commissioner Curtis Richardson feels that BCHC has played a vital role in providing HIV/AIDS treatment and general health care for Tallahassee residents along the lower socio-economic scale.
“Bond Community Health Center has been providing care when others weren’t. They had some trouble recently but it’s exciting that they are turning around and getting this additional funding to continue to provide services to our vulnerable population,” said Richardson.
In conjunction with the extension of the Ryan White Part D grant, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) provides assistance with HIV-related prescriptions for people affected with HIV that don’t have prescription drug coverage.
“Our treatments are very effective here at Bond,” said Cynthia Evans, director of clinical services at BCHC.
In comparison to the national average viral suppression rate, which is 28 percent, Bond exceeds with 63.9 percent says Evans. In addition, Bond surpasses the national average of 41 percent in continuum of care with an average of 84 percent.
“It can be challenging sometimes but once you get the patients in and comfortable with you, they become family,” said Evans.