Favorite

Lesson from Lee County 

Part of the $86 million that Gov. Mike Beebe wants spent on a number of health programs would go to the state's Community Health Centers, non-profit, federally funded clinics created during the so-called War on Poverty in the 1960s. The clinics will receive $5 million for capital improvements and $10 million for budget needs in the 2010 fiscal year.

About 120,000 Arkansans are seen yearly at the 12 centers, each a separate non-profit with a board of directors from the communities they serve, and their 47 satellites. Patients are seen whether they have insurance or not — and 43 percent don't — and are charged according to a sliding scale. Ninety-three percent earn below 200 percent of poverty level; 73 percent are below the poverty level. Uncompensated care in 2006 came to $16.5 million.

Clinics in Fountain Hill, Holly Grove and DeValls Bluff have had to close. That five more would have to shut down was one of the major arguments House Speaker Robbie Wills, D-Conway, made in fighting for passage of the tobacco tax that will fund the health initiative.

But how will the state determine if the $15 million appropriation is being well spent? How will money be given out? Who will provide oversight?

The question is brought into high relief by the Lee County Cooperative Clinic in Marianna, which serves Lee and a portion of St. Francis and Phillips Counties. The clinic — the state's first CHC, founded by a VISTA worker in the 1960s — was nearly shut down by the federal agency that funds the clinics last year. The problem: Big debt and big pay to its top five employees.

On its amended 2004 return filed with the Internal Revenue Service, the non-profit reported receiving $2.6 million in government grants but ended the year with a negative asset balance of $1,006,978. Meanwhile, its highest-paid employees enjoyed what would be considered generous salaries for a non-profit agency: $273,650 to the chief executive officer, Cleola Bursey; $149,944 to the human resources manager, Alice Morganfield; $119,068 to “maintenance supervisor,” Napoleon Gillespie. A lab coordinator was paid $114,578. The clinic's medical director was paid slightly more than the “maintenance supervisor” — $124,444.

By contrast, CABUN Rural Health Center, a community health center based in Hampton, reported on its 2008 IRS form that it paid its executive director $79,441, a sum in line with other centers.

The negative balance has been on the books for years, and reflects mortgage debt on a low-income housing project the clinic started in the 1980s.

In December 2007, the Health Resources Service Administration, the federal agency that awards grants to CHCs, disapproved the clinic's annual grant application for fiscal year 2008. A spokesman for HRSA told the Times that “for the 12 months that followed that decision, HRSA provided LCCC with sufficient grant funding to continue to provide services and to close out its grant program.”

The spokesman said the decision to quit funding the clinic “was based primarily on the assessment of the Objective Review Committee that reviewed LCCC's application. The committee noted many deficiencies, most of which had also been noted in previous years' applications. Further, LCCC failed to correct the deficiencies noted in the previous application reviews.” The spokesman did not specify what the deficiencies were.

In June 2008, Bursey and Morganfield retired. A new board of directors was seated.

Last December, the clinic won a competitive regional one-year grant from HRSA. The clinic must submit monthly financial statements to support the withdrawal of grant funds.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Arts Center chooses Studio Gang for architectural job

    An Arkansas Arts Center committee named to select the architect for the arts center's multimillion dollar renovation has chosen the Chicago-based firm Studio Gang, a choice widely expected after the firm's presentation to the public at the Arts Center on Nov. 1.
    • Dec 6, 2016
  • Sewer plant request off City Board agenda

    The City Board of Directors will not take up at tomorrow's board meeting developer Rick Ferguson's request that the city overrule the Planning Commission's decision denying him a Conditional Use Permit to build a wastewater treatment plant on his property at 25616 Hwy. 10, opponents of Ferguson's plan tell the Times.
    • Dec 5, 2016
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Gift Guide

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week. This week, a gift guide.
    • Dec 2, 2016
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Top Stories

  • Good for the soul

    The return of Say McIntosh, restaurateur
    • Jun 1, 2010
  • Robocalls are illegal

    Robocalls -- recorded messages sent to thousands of phone numbers -- are a fact of life in political campaigns. The public doesn't like them much, judging by the gripes about them, but campaign managers and politicians still believe in their utility.
    • May 31, 2010
  • Riverfest winds down

    With Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm, Steve Miller Band, Robert Cray, Ludacris and more performing.
    • May 30, 2010
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation