The Miami Beach Community Health Center’s clinic in North Miami is largest of the health center’s network of three facilities in Miami-Dade. But the four-story center, which primarily serves a low-income population, has been forced to turn away patients since Hurricane Irma knocked out power to the facility.
A utility crew with Florida Power & Light showed up on Wednesday to restore power to the clinic. But workers installed a transformer with 110-volt current. The facility needs a transformer with a 220-volt current, said Evian White De Leon, a vice president for the health centers.
“We can’t hook up our AC to that,” she said on Friday. “We can’t hook up servers. We can’t do anything, and we certainly can’t put patients in there. We are turning away people in droves.”
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Peter Robbins, an FPL spokesman, wouldn’t comment on the North Miami clinic Friday.
“We’re working to get the lights back on for all our customers,” he said. Robbins also directed a reporter to an FPL website explaining how the utility prioritizes the restoration of power for its nearly 5 million customers statewide.
According to the website, the utility prioritizes restoring power to “critical facilities such as hospitals, police and fire stations, communication facilities, water treatment plants and transportation providers.”
At the same time, FPL crews work to restore service to the largest number of customers in the shortest amount of time, the website explains, including major thoroughfares where supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and “other needed community services” are located.
The North Miami clinic is on Biscayne Boulevard, just north of Northeast 116th Street. It is the largest of the Miami Beach Community Health Center’s clinics, and serves a predominantly Haitian and Hispanic clientele, White De Leon said. The center’s two Miami Beach clinics reopened earlier this week.