The UF Mobile Outreach Clinic has reduced its hours as a result of cutbacks in the UF College of Medicine.
As of April 1, the mobile clinic, a two-room bus that delivers health care to the medically underserved in Alachua County, shortened its hours.
The shortened hours was news to Dr. Lewis Baxter, who learned about it upon arriving at the clinic March 18 to cover a shift.
Baxter said the bus driver told him the bus had to leave at 8 p.m. instead of the usual 10 p.m.
Baxter, a professor in the psychiatry and neuroscience departments, said with the clinic already at capacity, the reduced hours will mean less care for patients.
After hearing the decision came from the educational affairs office, Baxter requested the shortened hours take effect May 13 to avoid the risk of abandoning patients.
“What led to this cutback was the result of some mismanagement,” he said. “Funds went to some agencies not connected with the clinic that shouldn’t have. It wasn’t an attempt at diverting money or being evil, it was just mismanagement.”
Baxter corresponded with Associate Dean for Educational Affairs Joseph Fantone via email. Baxter does not believe the mismanagement of funds came from Fantone. Rather, he thinks it was a lack of supervision.
In the emails, Baxter wrote that reducing hours without giving at least six weeks notification to the clinic’s staff and patients was not within the standards of traditional medicine.
Fantone responded saying the college supports the community outreach program, and it is evaluating its cost effectiveness.
In a statement, the College of Medicine said the clinic hours were modified at certain locations to provide access to the greatest number of people.
“We remain determined to deliver high-quality educational experiences for our students and health care to our patients, as we balance the responsibilities of sound management of our financial resources,” the statement read.
Baxter, who was asked to leave the clinic, sent a letter to his patients apologizing for the short notice.
“I am very ashamed of how UF has acted,” he wrote. “Our patients in this clinic have had a very hard time getting needed and deserved care as it is. Such is the present sorry state of medicine in Florida, and the nation.”
Contact Alexa Volland at [email protected].