Community Health of South Florida - FQHC HCN Collaborative

  • Location: Miami, FL
  • Award: Evidence Based Leadership Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: September 2014

Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) is a non-profit healthcare company that provides quality, affordable healthcare services. With 10 health centers and 42 school based health centers, CHI continues to grow. The service area covers the Florida Keys, South Miami Dade and all the way into the Coconut Grove, airport area.

CHI was born more than 40 years ago out of a great need. At the time, there was no place for minorities to get healthcare down in South Dade. The nearest hospital would not allow them in and some were dying enroute to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Community Activist Doris Ison gathered volunteer doctors from her church and began offering services out of two trailers. Today Ison’s dream has expanded into a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers that focuses on everyone; all races and income levels regardless of insurance status.

Services offered at Community Health of South Florida Inc. (CHI) health centers include: family medicine, pediatrics, dental, OB-GYN, urgent care, low cost pharmacies, radiology, laboratory and behavioral health care. CHI operates a 24 hour Crisis Stabilization Unit for the severely mentally ill as well as a detox unit. In addition, CHI has the largest number of health suites in Miami Dade Public School. The 42 school based centers provide mid-level provider services to the students and staff of each school. The program cuts down on the absenteeism rate as students don’t need to leave school to visit the doctor. The mid-level provider model allows for diagnosis and treatment right at the school based health center.

Additionally, CHI provides free transportation for patients to and from appointments, free medication delivery and translation services. It also has a team of 19 outreach and enrollment assistants throughout Dade and Monroe counties enrolling people into insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. In July, the FQHC opened the Brodes H. Hartley Jr. Teaching Health Center at CHI. It is the first teaching health center at a Community Health Center in the State of Florida. The medical residency program trains future doctors and health care providers to help replenish a shortage of qualified providers in the nation. It’s a program that was born out of analysis of a future emerging issue: the shortage of qualified physicians. CHI had the vision to create this program to grow and retain its own doctors in a deficient environment.

Recently CHI opened three new health centers locations in Tavernier, South Miami and Coconut Grove. It expects to open a fourth in West Kendall by the end of this year. Beyond the new centers, CHI is renovating its existing centers to meet customer needs and demands in a changing business climate.

CHI has always believed strongly in going beyond the walls of the health center. With a coordinated approached to healthcare. There are times when nurses, doctors, therapists, care coordinators and others go all the way to a patient’s home to ensure they received the necessary healthcare. Along those lines, CHI hosts a number of health fairs and programs throughout the community with valuable health screenings and educational opportunities. The idea is to raise awareness for CHI and its services and make people informed of important issues to put them in the driver’s seat of their own healthcare.

CHI is a major economic engine in South Florida. In 2013, it provided a total of 958 jobs, with 305 of those jobs outside of the industry. It saved the healthcare system $87 Million and provided a total economic impact of $99,953,985 according to a Capital Link report.

CHI began a journey to excellence on Dec. 7th 2010 with the goal of making CHI a great place for employees to work, for physicians to practice and for patients to receive care. The journey partners CHI with the Studer Group to achieve organizational excellence through evidence based leadership. The program implemented a structure for the CHI leadership team to begin training. The extended leadership team is comprised of 80 leaders, the journey leadership team is 50 leaders and then there is the Champion and Team Leaders comprised of 6 leaders. The team leaders’ responsibilities include a Standards and Rewards/Recognition Team, Customer Service Team, and the LEM/Measurement Team. The LEM has allowed us to track progress as it relates to our pillar goals: Service, People, Quality, Finance and Growth. The pillars have helped to understand both goals and our current position with respect to those goals. They also provide a framework for evaluation, keep the organization balanced in short and long-term objectives and lay the framework for consistent evaluations, agendas, communications and work planning.

CHI participates in quarterly Leadership Development Institute meetings with other FQHCS from the network. These sessions help us benchmark our progress with similar organizations and also drive coaching sessions and the hardwiring process for CHI.

CHI has implemented a wide range of best practices including:
  • Rounding on team members
  • Rounding on Patients
  • AIDET communication tactics
  • Pillar Boards at all sites
  • Organization-wide standards of behavior
  • Quarterly Care Team Meetings with all Employees and Leadership
  • Hand Written Thank You Notes mailed to care team member’s home
  • Increased the number of Focus Groups
  • Communication with Empathy
  • The 10-5 Rule
  • Inter-Departmental Satisfaction Survey
  • High/Middle/Low Conversations
  • Conducted Sperduto Employee Satisfaction Survey

The Results

  • Decrease organization-wide turnover:
    • 2011= 12.4% turn-over rate
    • 2012= 11.3% turn-over rate
    • 2013= 8.4% turn-over rate
    • (Savings of $546,000. As a result the CHI was able to give a holiday bonus to employees in 2012 and 2013)
  • Sperduto Employee Satisfaction Survey; made the largest improvement in one year over any other health care organization in 2012. CHI jumped by 11 percent to 50% employee engagement.
  • Improved in goal for more breast cancer screenings: Mammograms 27% increase. Clinical Breast Exams 20% Increase.


  • Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home
  • Florida Sterling Navigator Award
  • Re-accredited by the Joint Commission for Lab, Ambulatory Care and Behavioral Health
  • Chamber South Award for High Growth 
  • Chamber South Nomination for Not for Profit Award
  • Worksite Wellness Award for Midsized Employer by Miami Dade County
  • CEO Colonel Brodes Hartley Awarded Bronze Award from Miami Today
  • CEO Colonel Hartley Named one of 50 most powerful African-Americans in South Florida by Legacy Magazine
  • Executive Vice President Blake Hall and VP of Communications Tiffani Helberg named in 40 under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow by Legacy Magazine
  • CMO Dr. St. Anthony Amofah awarded Jessie Trice Award for Distinguished Clinician
  • Synergy Award from American Medical Depot






Print Page