Call it the little community health center that could.
Serving Arlandria's melting pot of Hispanic immigrants and low-income families,Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services provides comprehensive primary health care services to the poor, downtrodden, overworked, underpaid -- and uninsured.
With declining donations and increased needs from the recession, the community health clinic needed a booster shot of state or federal aid to keep its services rolling uninterrupted.
On Tuesday, wish granted.
U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark R. Warner of Virginia announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released more than $300,000 in funding to strengthen the services at the three locations of the Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services, Inc. It was one of 24 community health centers in Virginia that were included as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Located predominately in inner-city and rural communities where health care can be inaccessible or otherwise unaffordable, community health centers serve as a safety net for Virginians who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to see a primary care doctor,” Webb said. “This funding will help communities provide high-quality health care to those who are uninsured during this difficult economic time.”
The mission of the renowned community health center near Del Ray is to ensure families inthe city and surrounding communities have access to coordinated and affordable community-based health and human services. Among a full range of services are Newborn, Infant and Well Child Exams, Pediatric Sick Visits, Women’s Health and Gynecology, Family Planning, General Medicine, Routine Physical Exams, Immunizations for Children and Adults, Acute Illness Care, Chronic Disease Management, Mental Health Counseling and Dental Care.
The center'smission was significantly expanded in 2004 to also include medical management of chronic illnesses; increased capacity for mental health counseling and increased pharmaceutical access to discounted and free drugs.
The grant will be used over the next two years to create or save staff positions at a time when clinics have seen increasing number of patients who lack health insurance during the economic downturn. Health centers deliver preventive and primary care services to patients regardless of their ability to pay. Charges for services are set according to income.
“These grants will help expand access to high quality health care service for Virginians who don’t have insurance, while creating and preserving health care provider jobs as well, especially in some of our rural areas,” Warner said.
Other grant recipients in Northern Virginia include the Loudoun Community Health Center in Leesburg ($100,000) and the Greater Prince William Community Health Center in Woodbridge ($100,000).
Grantees submitted plans explaining how the funds would be used, which include strategies to expand services, including the addition of new providers, expanded hours of operation or expanded services.
The awards are the second set of health center grants provided through the Recovery Act. On March 2, President Obama announced grants worth $155 million to establish 126 new health centers. Those grants will provide access to health center care for 750,000 people in 39 states and two territories.
To find a health center near you or to learn more about health centers, visit http://bphc.hrsa.gov/.