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On special anniversary, HBHC provides new details of past mismanagement while previewing its strategy to expand patient services
CHICAGO – Nov. 4, 2011 – The president and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) today expressed the institution’s commitment to expand and enhance health care services to the LGBTQ communities, while addressing the results of past mismanagement that left HBHC $4 million in debt.
President and CEO Jamal M. Edwards discussed HBHC’s financial status and plans for moving forward at a press conference today, exactly one year after the launch of the LifeLine Appeal campaign, which raised $1.25 million and kept the institution from closing its doors.
“It has been a challenging year, but we are focusing on improving our financial performance, exploring collaborations and planning to expand our services as national health care reform creates more opportunities for un‐ and underinsured people, including LGBT, to receive health care,” said Edwards.
Edwards provided details from a recently completed investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of past mismanagement of grant monies. The OIG, that is finalizing its report, cited “lack of controls” and a “serious breach of fiduciary duty” by the previous management team between 2005 and 2010.
As a result of the mismanagement, HBHC still owes $1.1 million to the federal government and $1.7 million to Northwestern University as repayment for past leadership’s misuse of grant monies associated with the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS).
Edwards also reviewed mismanagement issues identified by the OIG investigation into past practices, including:
Accumulated unnecessary debt
Default on bank debt
Improper contract and leases
22 audit findings regarding the lack of internal controls
Lack of clinical oversight
Inadequately trained management team, and
Improper donor and pledge management.
“All of the mistakes of past leadership have led to the extremely heavy burden that Howard Brown Health Center still carries today,” Edwards said. “Despite this challenge, we have managed to turnaround our financial performance in the last year, and for the first time in several years, HBHC does not have an operating deficit in 2011.
“We are not closing. We are not cutting services. Now, more than ever, we are committed to expanding our services to the underserved that need us most, and to our insured patients whose health needs require a broader range of services,” he said, citing recent additions to HBHS services and professionals including new medical specialties and infectious disease expertise, new research fellows and programs, extending electronic medical records access to patients, and the use of touch screen technologies into the patient treatment experience to enhance our quality of care. “We are continually improving and placing our patients first; it’s what they deserve.”
As part of its effort to develop a more robust service network for underserved populations such as the city’s youth, HBHC said it will be changing the location of its Broadway Youth Center (BYC), which caters specifically to LGBT youth. Acknowledging that BYC’s current location is no longer a sustainable option due to lease issues – HBHC is exploring ways to bring services to youth in their neighborhoods.
“It’s important to be near the youth we serve and where they feel comfortable,” continued Edwards. “New, collaborative partnerships will help us deliver HBHC services to them in their neighborhoods.”
Edwards noted that many of the 350,000 LGBT people living in Illinois will for the first time have coverage for certain health care services through provisions in national health care reform that will be implemented in the next 2‐3 years.
“For the first time, many individuals in the LGBT community and people living with HIV/AIDS will have access to Medicaid and other federal programs that enable them to receive care through a qualified community health center,” he said. “While we provide nearly $2 million in charity care annually to people who cannot pay for their health care, this new coverage will allow far more people to access our services through federally funded programs.”
HBHC’s new LifeCycle Program is currently underway to develop integrated primary care services for women, children and seniors. “National health care is evolving and so will Howard Brown Health Center. Creative collaborations will help us develop an effective coordinated care network and patient‐centered medical home for LGBT and HIV patients throughout city, state and beyond,” Edwards said.
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About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and its allies. With an annual budget of approximately $18 million, it is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves more than 36,000 adults and youth each year throughout the region. As an innovative and growing patient‐centered health home, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally renowned clinical and behavioral research. Its nearly 200 staff deliver culturally competent and compassionate care in a supportive environment that also includes comprehensive health, wellness and social service programs that enable and expand access to care for all LGBT men, women, youth and seniors, and their friends and families. HBHC is a multi‐site operation based in Chicago and includes a main health and research center in the Uptown neighborhood, the TRIAD Health practice at Illinois Masonic Medical Center, and the Broadway Youth Center. HBHC also operates the Brown Elephant Resale Shops, which include three resale shops in Chicago's Wrigleyville/Boystown and Andersonville neighborhoods, and in Oak Park. The proceeds from the Brown Elephant help HBHC provide services to those who are un/underinsured.