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Whitman-Walker to Remain Open

<bt>Whitman-Walker Clinic's Northern Virginia site will remain open through December of 2006 under an agreement announced Aug. 24 by officials from the clinic and the governments of Virginia, Alexandria City, and Arlington and Fairfax counties. The three jurisdictions and the Virginia Department of Health have agred to provide a maximum of $590,000 to Whitman-Walker Clinic in one-time funding to cover 75 percent of an estimated budget gap of $800,000. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission will distribute the funds on a cost reimbursement basis.

On June 1, Whitman-Walker announced that it would close its Arlington site by Oct. 1 as part of a restructuring plan that involved $2.5 million in budget cuts. The clinic's suburban Maryland site is still slated for closing by Oct. 1. Funds from D.C. and two major corporations have helped to ease Whitman-Walker's budget gap.

A memorandum of understanding defines the expectations and accountability of the clinic, the three regional governments and the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) — the designated agent of the Virginia Department of Health. The memorandum states that Whitman-Walker will "aggressively" seek funds for its Virginia site and apply contributions from a pending congressional earmark, a recent bequest and other gifts to cover the cost of services in the area, "serving to reduce or eliminate the amount of local and VDH funds to ensure sufficient cash flow to keep the doors open."

Also according to the agreement, between now and December 2006, the NVRC will work to develop a plan to ensure "a long-term, sustainable, cost-effective regional provider of quality HIV care." Whitman-Walker and other stakeholders will be included in the process.