County withholds CW Williams health center’s payment

Published: Apr. 18, 2014 at 3:09 AM EDT|Updated: May. 17, 2014 at 10:11 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A healthcare center that serves people regardless of their ability to pay didn't get paid by the county this quarter. C.W. Williams has financial issues.  And one county commissioner questions whether those issues will force this clinic to close its doors.

The traffic outside of C.W. Williams health clinic on Wilkinson Blvd matches the patient traffic inside, it's busy.  The CEO Leon Burton said patients are noticing a change in the services it can provide because of a 20% cut in staff.

Republican County Commissioner Bill James said he looked at tax reports that show the federal and county funded health care center has serious financial problems.
"They are so far under water that I don't see how they're going to be able to survive," said James.

The 2010 tax report shows the center was more than half a million in the red, but James can't find the 2013 tax report.  The county manager said C.W. Williams didn't submit financials for 2013.

"We can't verify that they're solvent.  And based upon all the evidence that we have collected they're not. They're close to going out of business," said James.

The county manager, Dena Diorio, said she withheld C.W. Williams county grant payment of $97,500 this week because it didn't submit financials, it's not about being in the red or the black.

"It has come to my attention that they intend to comply with the requirement," said Diorio, "If they comply with requirement it could make them eligible for future funding."

Leon Burton became CEO of C.W. Williams on April 1st.  He said he's appreciative to the county for what they've done in the past.  But he says not getting this current payment potentially harms the homeless patients they serve as well as the social net they provide.

"We didn't manage the organization on a day to day basis," said Diorio, "If they go out of business it's because they didn't manage the organization effectively.  We provided our funding based on an agreement we had with them."

The county manager said C.W. Williams will get it's payment if it submits it's financials.
Burton said he hopes the public will donate money to help it recover from the financial deficit.

Commissioner James said he thinks the clinic needs $3 million.  Burton said that figure is not accurate.  But he wouldn't give a figure for what the ailing organization needs.

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