Whitman-Walker’s Northern Virginia Clinic To Remain Open Using State, Local Funding
The Virginia Department of Health, the city of Alexandria, Va., and Fairfax and Arlington counties in Virginia have pledged to provide as much as $590,000 to Whitman-Walker Clinic to keep its Northern Virginia clinic operating until the end of 2006, the Washington Post reports. WWC's Northern Virginia facility, which is located in Arlington and operates on a $2.2 million annual budget, needs about $800,000 to cover a budget shortfall through December 2006 (Salmon, Washington Post, 8/25). The Washington, D.C.-based WWC -- which serves about 7,000 HIV-positive individuals in the district area and has a $29 million budget for 2005 -- in May approved $2.5 million in cuts and announced it would permanently end services in the Northern Virginia and Maryland suburbs. The move came shortly after WWC announced that it was facing financial constraints. WWC Interim Executive Director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti said a series of budget and funding problems had contributed to the organization's financial problems, including more than $700,000 in late reimbursements owed to the clinic by the District of Columbia Department of Health and the housing agency of Prince George's County, Md. (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/2).
Under the agreement to continue services at the Northern Virginia clinic, the health department and three local jurisdictions will provide $590,000, or 75% of the facility's budget gap, through December 2006. WWC will cover the remaining $210,000. The majority of that money will come from a $200,000 bequest recently received from a Northern Virginia benefactor, according to clinic officials. In addition, WWC will be required to submit monthly annual reports to the city of Alexandria and Fairfax and Arlington counties. Clinic officials have pledged to "aggressively" seek additional private donations and federal funding to reduce the amount pledged by local governments. "We believe this is a very fair plan," Joseph Santone, director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic of Northern Virginia, said. The agreement for the Northern Virginia facility puts on hold an offer by the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation to take over the clinic from WWC, officials said. Maryland officials on Wednesday said they are working to move the 690 clients of WWC's Takoma Park, Md., facility to other local HIV/AIDS clinics, as no similar deal is in the works for that branch (Washington Post, 8/25).