Florida Sen. Ileana Garcia secures $700,000 for comprehensive health care in Miami-Dade County


Nicole Pasia


Community Health of South Florida, Inc (CHI), a federally-qualified health center, received $700,000 in state funds to expand comprehensive primary and behavioral care and medical professional training when the 2022-2023 state budget went into effect July 1st. 

Sen. Ileana Garcia’s (R–Miami-Dade) presented a ceremonial check to CHI last Thursday. Garcia, who chairs the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs, passed several other bills pertaining to child and senior health this past legislative session in addition to securing the funding for her district.


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“It is critically important for our community to have access to quality healthcare and behavioral services, especially for the most vulnerable,” Garcia said in a statement. “I was honored to work with Community Health of South Florida this past session to secure these vital state funds so they can expand their services in Miami-Dade.”

The foundation behind CHI began half a century ago when Doris Ison, an African-American woman living in Homestead, Florida, recognized the lack of access to medical care in her community. In the late 1960s, Black residents were not allowed to be treated at the nearest hospital and had to often travel to the neighboring cities for care, according to Ison’s story on the CHI website.

Ison began to advocate for providing local health care access in her community, which led to CHI’s establishment by the 1970s. Today, CHI operates 11 health centers and over 30 school-based health centers, with the goal of providing comprehensive, culturally sensitive primary and behavioral health services, regardless of insurance status. 

CHI also provides urgent care, pediatric, OB/GYN, and dental services, patient transportation, and free medication delivery to fulfill its model of comprehensive care. CHI’s patient demographics include urban and rural communities, migrant farmers, laborers and skilled workers. 

In 2014, CHI established the Brodes H. Hartley Jr. Teaching Health Center as part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The teaching center supports primary care residency training in high-need, underserved communities. 

The one-time funds for CHI are provided in line item 451 of the state budget as part of a $40.3 million appropriation to several health centers and community-based organizations statewide.