Brodes Hartley leads CHI effort to increase healthcare access

By Nancy Eagleton….

Col. Brodes Hartley Jr. (Ret.) promotes preventative healthcare as president and CEO of Community Health of South Florida Inc.

When Ret. Colonel Brodes Hartley Jr. became president and CEO of Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) in 1984, he made a commitment to support the organization’s mission and its motto, “Patient Care Comes First.”

Under his leadership, CHI has continued to expand and provide affordable, quality healthcare services to the uninsured and underinsured residents of south Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

CHI operates seven state-of-the-art facilities that offer comprehensive primary and behavioral healthcare services and 27 school-based healthcare programs. Services in family health, pediatrics, dental, immunizations, laboratory, radiology, optometry, OB-GYN, pharmacy, mental health and substance abuse are offered.

“Our goal is to deliver safe, compassionate, accessible and culturally competent quality health services to the people of South Florida,” Hartley said. “Our physicians are board certified or board eligible. Our facilities are accredited by the Joint Commission, so they go through the same accreditation process as any hospital.”

One of CHI’s seven facilities, the Doris Ison Health Center, is named for its founder who was “tired of children dying on their way to Jackson Memorial Hospital.” Ison opened this facility in 1971 to treat migrant farm workers and their families. In its humble beginnings, the facility operated out of two double-wide trailers near S. Dixie Highway and SW 216th Street.

Under Hartley’s leadership, CHI today employs more than 600 physicians, dentists, nurses, support staff and administrators at its seven centers, including the Doris Ison Health Center in South Dade, Everglades Health Center in Florida City, Marathon Health Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Clinica Campesina in Homestead, Naranja Health Center, South Dade Health Center and West Perrine Health Center.

Construction on CHI’s newest facility, the Children’s Crisis Center, being built adjacent to the Martin Luther King Jr. center in Homestead, will begin next year.

“There is no center of this type serving southwest Miami-Dade and the Florida Keys,” Hartley said. “The center will treat children with emergency care and with issues such as abuse, depression and neglect.”

During 2009, CHI served more than 71,000 patients, representing more than 365,000 patient visits. Recognizing that there is inadequate public transportation for these patients in South Dade, CHI operates a fleet of 10 vans that provide customized door-to-door service over a 240-square-mile area.

“We continue to develop new ways to ensure that our patients have access to quality healthcare,” Hartley said.

To accomplish CHI’s mission, Hartley said it “takes a village” and he is grateful that during these tough economic times, CHI’s support and funding remain stable.

“Thanks to the generous funding provided by the Children’s Trust, our 27 school-based clinics each operate with an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner or a Physician’s Assistant and a social worker,” Hartley said. “This is quite a service to the community.”

CHI has received funding from the South Florida Aids Network, Ryan White CARE Act and Health Foundation of South Florida. In addition, Baptist Health South Florida donated $300,000 to support CHI’s two urgent care centers, which operate at the Doris Ison and Martin Luther King Jr. facilities.

“We have a special relationship with the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners, and I’m especially grateful to Commissioners Katy Sorenson (District 8) and Dennis Moss (District 9), who have been strong supporters of healthcare in South Dade,” Hartley noted.

CHI will be hosting an evening honoring Commissioner Sorenson, who is not seeking re-election to the commission, on Friday, Nov. 12, at Signature Gardens, with event proceeds benefiting CHI’s Children’s Crisis Center.

Hartley received his BA degree from Florida A&M University (FAMU). As president of the Student Government Association at FAMU, he led students to initiate the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in 1956. After graduation, Hartley was commissioned through the ROTC program as a Second Lieutenant in the Army Medical Service Corps. He received a Master’s of Hospital Administration degree from Baylor University in 1968 and was later recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from FAMU.

Hartley served 26 years in the Army Medical Services Corps, including assignment as Executive Officer at 93rd Evacuation Hospital, Republic Vietnam; U.S. Army Hospitals in Camp Zama, Japan; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and Nuernberg Army Hospital, West Germany. Hartley retired from the Army in 1983 with the rank of colonel.

Hartley and his wife, Jacquelyn, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2007 and they have two children, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

The administration offices of Community Health of South Florida Inc. are located at 10300 SW 216 St. and the phone number is 305-252-4853. For more information, go online to

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