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Issues remain between Duffee, Rocking Horse board

Community health center cancels annual fundraiser ‘in respect for the situation.’

Dr. James A. Duffee’s relationship with the Rocking Horse Community Health Center that he founded remains in limbo.

His patients are being treated by other center doctors, where possible, and referred elsewhere, when needed.

The center has canceled its annual fundraiser, Raising Unbridled Support for the Horse (RUSH).

Duffee and representatives of the Rocking Horse board met Wednesday and did not resolve differences that led the board to ask him not to return to the center Oct. 16.

No additional meeting has been scheduled.

“While we’re kind of waiting on these discussions to conclude, we’re still continuing to treat things (operationally) as we would if he were on vacation or at a conference,” said CEO Dana Engle. “We’re not going to leave anyone without care.”

Duffee in fact is in Orlando, Fla., attending the annual conference of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Contacted by email, he said he will be there until Tuesday.

In addition to seeing a wide range of pediatric patients, Duffee is the only person in the community certified to deal with cases of sexual abuse of younger children.

In his absence, “(Dayton’s) Children’s Hospital is a good resource for us as well,” Engle said.

Engle it was “in respect for the situation” that the center cancelled its annual RUSH fundraiser, which had been scheduled for Nov. 2.

The cancellation underscores a crucial issue weighing on both sides in the controversy: The extent to which community support for the center and its mission of serving the underserved be eroded if they are unable to amicably resolve their differences.

Engle said RUSH will be back next year.

“We want to let people know the RUSH event is going to be back again next year,” he said.

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