Officials Discuss Continuing Services for HIV/AIDS Patients of Washington, D.C.-Based Whitman-Walker Clinic
More than 24 local, state and federal officials on Tuesday met to discuss ways to continue providing services to suburban HIV/AIDS patients of the Washington, D.C.-based Whitman-Walker Clinic, which recently announced cuts in services, the Washington Post reports (Levine, Washington Post, 6/8). Whitman-Walker's board at the end of last month approved about $2.5 million in cuts to its annual budget and announced it will end services permanently in the district's Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs. The group -- which serves about 7,000 HIV-positive individuals in the Washington, D.C., area and has a $29 million budget for 2005 -- in May announced it was facing financial constraints that might force the group to consider program cutbacks (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/7). The meeting focused on identifying other organizations to fill the gaps in care and services when Whitman-Walker closes its suburban offices in the fall. District Health Director Gregg Pane said the main issue is providing a continuum of care for HIV-positive individuals. "We all agreed to work collaboratively," he said, adding that the meeting was "very, very good." Local funding agencies are compiling a list of alternative providers in the area, and the clinic is surveying its suburban clients to see if some of them would be able and willing to travel into the district for treatment. In addition, HIV/AIDS advocates in Northern Virginia have appointed a task force to examine ways to allow the clinic's program to operate independently. Washington, D.C., City Council member Jim Graham (D), who was the clinic's executive director for 15 years, said he is looking into public and private funding for the group in order to help it maintain regional services (Washington Post, 6/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.