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Clinic Seeks Funds

Local officials help bring awareness of the need

Alexandria businessman Don Beyer sponsored a breakfast last week to tell the business community more about Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services Inc. (ANHSI).

The event was held at Land Rover Alexandria and was attended by representatives of local businesses and by local officials. It is the second such event Beyer has held for the nonprofit health-care provider.

“Mr. Beyer has been incredibly generous with us,” said Susan Abrahmson, the executive director of ANHSI. “We certainly welcomed the opportunity to tell business leaders and, of course, our own elected officials about ANHSI.”

ANHSI OPERATES the Arlandria Health Clinic for Women and Children, located at 3804 Executive Ave. in Arlandria. The clinic serves approximately 2,500 patients a year, about one quarter of whom live in the Arlandria neighborhood. ANHSI provides primary health care to women and children and is now offering mental health services. The group’s budget is a just over $1 million per year, most of which comes from private sources.

“When we were founded in 1997, the understanding was that the city would contribute one-third of our budget, the state one-third and that we would raise the remaining third,” Abramson said. This year, the city will contribute $200,000, the state will provide $112,000, and ANHSI must raise the remaining money.

And the group is lucky to have that amount of state funding.

“We fought very hard to make sure that ANHSI got funded,” said Del. Marian Van Landingham (D-45). “It was difficult because the theory on which the Speaker of the House was operating this year was that he was only going to fund those programs that are statewide. That would have meant that the Arlandria Clinic didn’t get any money. We were able to restore all but about 10 percent of their funding.”

Sen. Patricia "Patsy" Ticer (D-30th) worked hard on the Senate side to maintain the level of funding. “The clinic provides such an essential service that it would have been terrible to cut their funding,” she said.

ABRAMSON IS CONCERNED about funding the expanding programs. “The need for primary health care is always increasing,” she said. “Right now we have a waiting list of up to three months for new patients. We are growing, but we are not expanding our services into areas that are out of our primary service goals. The only exception to this is our new mental health services, but we believe that this is a natural fit with our health-care services.”

Abramson said that United Way contributions have declined by about 25 percent, and foundations that might have given $30,000 last year are giving $10,000 to $15,000 this year. “Part of that is, of course, Sept. 11,” she said.

The only federal funding that the organization receives is a one-time $600,000 grant from the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the purchase of a building. “We have simply outgrown our quarters at Presidential Greens,” Abramson said.

ANHSI WILL HOLD its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration on Thursday, May 2, at Jack Taylor’s Alexandria Toyota. Ramparts will provide the food, and there will be margaritas and salsa dancing. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the door. The event begins at 6 p.m.