Patients claim they were turned away from Bond - Tallahassee News | ABC 27 WTXL: News

Patients claim they were turned away from Bond

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Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 6:27 pm | Updated: 5:20 pm, Wed Aug 28, 2013.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Patients from the Bond Community Health Center in Tallahassee say they're outraged after being turned away from treatment.

This comes after a psychiatrist at the facility was placed on administrative leave for not having the proper insurance. But Bond's board says they weren't aware of the issue.

"All of sudden I can't see my doctor I can't get an increase, I have no idea of whats going on," said Thomas Dozier.

Thomas Dozier has been a patient here at Tallahassee's Bond Community Health Center for more than a year.

Dozier says he normally sees Dr. Tariq Halim for his mental health illness and medication, but now he can't.

"I like Dr. Halim, you know I felt comfortable talking to him and now all of a sudden i can't see him and they won't even tell me why i can't see him," said Thomas Dozier.

The issue, Bond's board chairman Antonio Jefferson says Dr. Halim didn't have malpractice liability insurance since February, which could lead to loss of his license as a psychiatrist.

Jefferson says the board wasn't aware.

"This condition existed prior to the board that's currently in place, came aboard, the majority of the members at least 9 of our 13 members, but we're resolve in solving the problems," said Antonio Jefferson.

Its a problem that a letter from Dr. Halim says Bond staff and board already knew about.

Halim wrote to the acting CEO William Petit: "BCHC was malfeastant in allowing me to continue seeing patients at Bond Community Health Center, for at least 3 days without malpractice liability insurance."

In this same letter, Halim added that it was the center's responsibility to provide the insurance.

WTXL questioned Jefferson whether the facility currently offers the insurance.

"So right now there is no malpractice insurance? "There is, malpractice insurance does not exist for the psychiatrist," said Jefferson.

His answer still left has case managers like Sylvia Hubbard who works with the mentally ill at Bond, confused and questioning why wasn't something done earlier.

"This is something that shouldn't have happened, there's no way a person is practicing medicine without a malpractice insurance," said Hubbard.

The patients say not knowing who to trust, they are just looking for a change in leadership.

"I think they really need to get rid a lot of staff and a lot of board members and start all over," said Dozier.

Jefferson says the board will do everything they can in moving forward. He says they are currently searching for a new CEO, making some changes in administration, and more changes are yet to come.

He added that he is deeply saddened by the allegations the patients have made. But, the plan he says, he will make sure he asks the appropriate questions to find out if and why the patients were turned away.

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