Giving up one's lifeblood and mission is a heart-rending task.
But it is time for Anthony J. Malone, president and CEO of the Madison County Community Health Centers, to relinquish his reins on his beloved operation.
Beginning in 1999, Malone guided the growth of the center from humble beginnings at 1101 N. Meridian Plaza to its current expanded facility at 1547 Ohio Ave. The staff list now names more than 75 people.
Back in those first days, the health center's patient population was 12 percent Hispanic and 13 percent African-American, so it was able to reach out to a diverse range of patients with limited access to health care. Malone's early work was heartfelt, from hosting a community cookout to starting a breast cancer prevention program to promoting the Madison County Healthy Marriage and Family Initiative, among many other critical services.
In 2001, a branch clinic opened in Elwood to bring health care closer to residents in northern Madison County. Also served by the clinic were seasonal migrant workers.
But the operation has grown too unwieldy for one man to believe he can control. Fires have been erupting, and Malone is scrambling to put them out.
Earlier this year, the center's chief medical officer, Frank Campbell, was investigated by the state.
The Indiana Attorney General filed a complaint with the Indiana Medical Licensing Board claiming Campbell allowed two assistants to use his licenses to write prescriptions for Schedule II drugs. Medications in this class have a high potential for abuse.
Campbell reportedly pre-signed the prescriptions so they could be used in case he was not at the center. An estimated 14,000 prescriptions were filled in 2012 using Campbell's registration numbers that "were most likely not authorized by (Campbell) from a medical examination, assessment or determination...," according to the complaint. The state licensing board has a hearing on Campbell's case set for December.