Arlandria Neighborhood Health Services (ANHS) is looking for a new home, and it hopes to expand its services.
Jennell Charles is the new director. She assumed her new role in August. She has worked as a nurse and as an instructor of nursing at Georgetown University. Before becoming director of ANHS, she served on the organization’s board of directors.
One of her first priorities is to find new space for the clinic. “We have been looking for about two years,” she said. “We would like to stay in the Arlandria area if we can or as close to that area as possible. We feel very committed to offer services to that community.”
The clinic is now housed in two converted apartments at Presidential Greens. The space is not adequate to meet the needs of the nearly 1,000 children and 1,300 women who are seen each year. The clinic had 6,700 visits last year and would like to increase this number.
Dr. Martha Welman is a pediatrician and the medical director for the program. “About two-thirds of the people we serve are uninsured,” she said. “Many of the children are eligible for the FAMIS program, but they don’t know where to apply. We are doing a pretty good job of enrolling children in all of the public health insurance programs such as this, but we have a ways to go. Our goal is to enroll at least 100 a month for the next few months.”
WELMAN MOST OFTEN treats children for respiratory problems and babies with congenital defects. The clinic’s immunization rate is better than 95 percent. “Patients like to come and appreciate the time we give,” she said.
ANHS receives public support from the city, the state and the federal government. However, the organization still relies on private money from grants to support many of its services. “We receive about $330,000 from the city and state combined, and our budget is about $1 million,” Charles said. “It is getting more and more difficult to raise money from foundations because of economics. They like to fund new projects and not general operating costs. Also, the city and the state have tremendous budget demands so there is more competition for those funds.”
The organization is applying to be a full-service health-care provider under the federal government’s medically underserved populations program.
“This would give us about $650,000 for the first year, including capital costs,” Charles said. “After that, grants decrease to between $450,000 and $500,000 a year.”
THE PROCESS IS INTENSE for quality assurance purposes. “They want to make sure that everybody is doing what they are supposed to be doing,” Charles said. “That’s a good thing.”
The federal money would triple the agency’s budget. “There is very little for the adult male population in terms of health care,” Charles said. “The federal money would certainly allow us to offer some services to this group.”
This is something that John Liss would like to see. “I understand that they are applying for federal money to become a full-service health-care center,” he said during a discussion about uses for the Datatel site. “If they get that funding and find a larger space, that would be great. Health care is a real need in this community.”
In addition to medical care, ANHS also offers family support services. “We have a case manager to hook people up with community resources, and we provide parenting classes and counseling,” Charles said. “We do a lot of liaison work with other agencies, but we are careful not to duplicate what’s already out there.”
ANHS staff is involved in Project Connect, a program that links the uninsured with Medicaid and other public health insurance programs such as FAMIS.
Staff is available from 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday; and 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on Friday. The phone number is 703-519-1725.