A controversy at the Rocking Horse Community Health Center in Springfield is spurring protests and spelling trouble for the future of the organization. The founder, Dr. James Duffee, is at odds with the board and may be forced to leave the clinic.
For the past week, the Rocking Horse board of directors have been discussing whether Dr. Duffee will be retained as the center's Chief Medical Officer. Duffee founded the center in 1999 to serve the medical needs of families with little or no health insurance. A meeting was held Wednesday to discuss the future of the health clinic and its founder.
But a group approaching 800 members on Facebook is speaking up. One parent,Terri Adoff, says the board is making a mistake if it let's Duffee go.
"If Dr. Duffee were to leave the Rocking Horse Center there would a very big void in the services that are supplied to the children of Clark County," Adoff believes.
Duffee has been away from his duties all week while his future is being decided and Adoff says his presence is missed already.
"Right now there are children in Clark County that are not getting their needed psychiatric care because Dr. Duffee hasn't been able to report to work in the last week," she explains.
Shelly Robbins is a registered nurse at the Rocking Horse, she says the center's employees are behind Duffee. She says, "there will be no Rocking Horse without him. There will be none."
And Robbins says employees will walk if Duffee is ousted.
"I could not go into that building knowing that that man has been treated so disrespectfully. I just couldn't do it," Robbins explains.
Both Rocking Horse and Duffee have declined comment citing it's a "personnel matter," but CEO Dana Engle says no timetable has been set on the decision.