Whitman-Walker Clinic Receives $650,000 in FY 2006 Federal Funding
Congress on Friday approved the fiscal year 2006 federal budget for Washington, D.C., designating $650,000 in federal funds to the district-based Whitman-Walker Clinic, the Washington Post reports (Pierre, Washington Post, 11/19). The clinic -- 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. WWC in September shut down its Takoma Park, Md., facility, but 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 allow WWC to keep its Northern Virginia clinic operating until the end of 2006. WWC Interim Executive Director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti said a series of budget and funding problems 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, 10/4). The federal funds will be used to install an electronic health records system at the clinic that will enable employees to access patient records at the clinic's three locations, enhance the clinic's tracking system for patients and improve the billing process for insurers, according to the Post. "[The money] is a tremendous help to the clinic," Geidner-Antoniotti said, adding, "It will help us upgrade our technology to better serve our clients. The clinicians are freed to be more productive. They can see more patients" (Washington Post, 11/19).
District Government Should Do More in HIV Fight, Editorial Says
It is "tragic enough" that so many district residents are living with HIV, but the "slothfulness and incompetence of the D.C. government continues to exacerbate this epidemic through insufficient and inefficient funding, incomplete data collection and ineffective prevention measures," a Washington Examiner editorial says. According to the editorial, the district government should "step up its efforts" to gather accurate information on the district's populations that are most affected by HIV/AIDS. The government also should increase coordination among the HIV/AIDS agencies to use resources "quickly, efficiently and effectively"; continue efforts to educate residents; and provide "healthy and safe ways" to prevent the spread of the disease in the district, the editorial says, adding, "Every case of HIV that is prevented means more resources available for those who already need treatment" (Washington Examiner, 11/21).