Patients Protest After Hopkins Cuts Funding For Church-Run Heroin Clinic

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—For the past 10 years, a church in East Baltimore estimates it has helped 3,500 heroin addicts off the drug.

But now, as Mike Schuh reports, that church-run clinic is in the middle of a dispute with one of the world’s most respected hospitals.

About 1,300 addicts come to Turning Point Clinic to curb their cravings for heroin.

The clinic is run by a church, which loaded up 11 vans to protest. Their destination was just a mile away: Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Johns Hopkins and the clinic used to be partners. Now some of the patients have come to protest, sending a message to Hopkins.

For 32 years, Nathan used heroin.

“Doing it my way never worked, and this program has drastically changed my life,” he said.

Clinic patient Chanchi Wiggins says she needs the methadone treatment plan because she’s a recovering addict.

The clinic says Hopkins refuses to pay for the initial assessment a patient gets when they are accepted into treatment.

“We have been negotiating with Johns Hopkins for a year, along with the state of Maryland, about the same issue. They owe us over $100,000 right now,” said Rev. Milton Williams, Turning Point Clinic.

But Hopkins takes a view of what happened differently, saying in a statement, “We’re disappointed that Rev. Williams chooses to voice his dissent in very public and unproductive ways.”

“They have picked on the wrong group of people,” Rev. Williams responded.

“After numerous unanswered attempts to communicate with Williams and the staff at Turning Point Center, Johns Hopkins Healthcare recently notified them of our intent to terminate our participating partner agreement,” Johns Hopkins Associate Director of Communications Kim Hoppe said in a statement.

Hopkins says Williams is not communicating with them.

“Johns Hopkins Hospital and priority partners are mistaken,” Williams said. “I want to be careful about calling other folks liars, but they are mistaken. I challenge them to come on camera with me and say that in my face.”

Neither side spoke about when, if or how the matter will be reconciled.

The statement from Hopkins also expressed regret for the inconvenience caused to any patients.

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