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Grant Allows for Health Care Expansion

Health center in Arlandria recipient of federal money.

Alexandria Neighborhood Health Services has received a federal grant that will allow more than twice as many people to receive primary medical care.

The announcement was made in early Fall by Elizabeth Duke, administrator of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration.

“Health centers’ commitment to serving all who need health care is second to none,” Duke said. “Millions of Americans rely on health centers every day to provide the care and services their families need to get better or stay healthy. These health centers are a model of cost-effective, high quality primary health care for America.”

The Arlandria-based clinic has been providing primary health care to mostly women and children for the past 10 years. Janelle Charles, director of ANHSI, said “This funding will allow us to expand our services and to serve more people. There are many people who need primary health care and who do not currently have access to it. We hope that we can fill that need.”

The grant is for three years with the possibility of renewals. ANHSI will receive $554,125 during the first year and $650,000 for each of the two remaining years. During the first year, the clinic must provide health care to 2,600 people; in the second year, to 3,900 people and, finally, reach capacity at 4,900 in the third and final year of the grant.

“That means that we must be prepared to offer a full array of medical services to patients when we begin operation as a community health center,” Charles said.

Community health centers serve more than 172,000 people throughout Virginia. They operate in medically underserved areas or health professional shortage areas. They provide primary care, and in many cases, dental care, laboratory services, pharmaceutical services, behavioral health and preventive health in communities across the United States. Health centers have offered health services under a philosophy of “access for all” for more than 30 years.

THAT WILL REQUIRE the organization to have more room. ANHSI has been negotiating for space where the current Barefeet shoe store is located at the corner of W. Glebe and Mt. Vernon Avenue. The group hopes to successfully conclude these negotiations and sign a lease some time before the end of this month.

\If that does not happen, ANHSI has obtained permission from the city to expand in its current location, in several apartments at Presidential Greens in Arlandria. Money for expansion and/or the purchase of a building in which the clinic could operate came through a $600,000 federal appropriation arranged by US Representative James P. Moran (D-8).

“I was very happy to help support ANHSI,” Moran said. “We had to compete for this funding with several other equally worthy programs so it is very important for them to move forward with the expansion and use the money.”

The additional space is necessary to provide the array of services that are required under the mandate of becoming a federal community health center.

“We will certainly expand our staff and will offer health care to those whoa are receiving Medicaid as well as those who have other insurance providers,” Charles said.