The Howard Brown Health Center is repaying federal agencies a settlement of $715,000 for mismanagement of grant funding, according to CEO Jamal Edwards.
This resolution was reached two years after the clinic announced it was under investigation by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for using an HIV/AIDS study grant for operating costs, which is illegal. "This is all behind us now," said Edwards, who assumed leadership of the clinic after the allegations were publicized.
Federal authorities could have demanded upwards of $3 million in fines and interest for the $1 million the clinic misspent on operating costs between 2005 and 2010. The settlement calls instead for immediate repayment of $53,924 to CDC, $86,076 to HHS, and $575,000 over three years to the National Institutes of Health.
"The fact that they were willing to accept less than they were owed is a really strong statement that we have been open and transparent," said Edwards.
This publicized struggle has not prevented Howard Brown, founded in 1974 to provide health care and research primarily on the LGBT community, from serving its patients. The clinic also has continued taking part in the Multi-Center AIDS Cohort Study, which has followed thousands of HIV-positive men since the mid-1980s; participated in other federal research; and applied for new funding.
Under Edwards' leadership, the clinic has bolstered its fundraising efforts and was able to repay the agencies through its charity resale shops and clinical and pharmaceutical endeavors.