Descendants of two legacies stood at either end of the giant check during a recent ceremony to mark a milestone in local healthcare.
On one end, Twyman Bentley, the nephew of the late Helen B. Bentley, and on the other end, Carolyn Taylor Pates, niece of the late Doris Ison. The pair was joined by leadership from both Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) and the former Helen B. Bentley Family Health Center to mark the formation of a partnership in the Coconut Grove area.
“Today we announce a $200,000 gift from the Helen B. Bentley Family Health Centers to CHI,” said Pinky Sands, former Helen B. Bentley board member and current CHI board member. “This is a special day because the funds will help pay for outreach services to let the community know that CHI is here to serve them with valuable, high quality services. It will also pay for a nursing scholarship for the residents of Coconut Grove.”
The check presentation was a culmination of three years of work between the Bentley Health Center and CHI. In 2013, the Helen B. Bentley Health Center closed leaving a void in the Grove community. Shortly after, Community Health of South Florida Inc. applied for and was awarded federal funding to open two new federally qualified health centers — in Coconut Grove, 3831 Grand Ave., and South Miami, 6350 Sunset Dr. CHI worked diligently to let the former Helen Bentley patients and others know that it was there to serve the Grove and surrounding communities.
“Coconut Grove is a lovely and unique area. There are people who are still not accessing healthcare for various reasons,” said Beverly Hepburn, coordinator of Outreach and Enrollment Programs at CHI. “That’s why this new outreach program in the Grove will really help reach some of those people. We will be going door to door, visiting churches, businesses and more to let people know about all the services that CHI has here for them.
“There are no barriers to healthcare. We provide free transportation. We accept most insurances. We offer a sliding fee scale based on a person’s income and we have compassionate, highly skilled staff,” Hepburn added.
Helen Bentley, a nurse with a great vision, founded the Bentley Health Center that is now closed. The nursing scholarship in her name will breathe new potential into the lives of other aspiring nurses.
Like Bentley, Doris Ison founded Community Health of South Florida Inc. 45 years ago. Ison also was a woman of great vision.
Both had so much in common with their goals to improve access to healthcare for their communities. This partnership marks the merging of those two visions to continue to the legacies of both. On Aug. 13, the partnership was announced outside of CHI’s Coconut Grove Health Center during a celebration that culminated a week of festivities hosted by CHI for National Health Center Week.
“We are grateful for the support of the Helen B. Bentley board of directors,” said Brodes H. Hartley Jr., CHI president and CEO. “We want to continue on with what they started in Coconut Grove and live up to our motto, ‘patient care comes first.’
“Patients will have access to convenient primary care, pediatric and OB/GYN services at our Coconut Grove Health Center. They will also have access to dental care at our South Miami Health Center. Transportation is free and so is medication delivery.”