FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:February 20, 2012
House Appropriations Committee Restores Funding to Virginia Free ClinicsAdopts Budget Amendment Proposed by Delegate Lopez
(Richmond, VA) On Sunday, at the request of Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-49), the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee restored $1.6 million in funding for the Virginia Association of Free Clinics in their proposed amendments to the 2012-2014 biennial budget. Governor McDonnell had called for cutting funding for Free Clinics by 52% over the next two years.
Delegate Lopez introduced a budget amendment to restore funding to all Community-Based Health Providers, which included the Virginia Association of Free Clinics. Almost all of this funding to these social and health care safety-net programs was restored including $2 million for the Virginia Healthcare Foundation and $1.2 million for the Virginia Community Healthcare Association.
“Far too many Virginians are living on the margins. There are also too many Virginians trying to make ends meet with a patchwork of part-time jobs and no health insurance,” said Lopez. “Free clinics are vital to these struggling families across the Commonwealth and an extremely cost-efficient way to provide care. I am happy that my colleagues in the House Appropriations Committee agreed to restore funding to these critically important programs in its version of the biennial budget.”
In South Arlington, the Arlington Free Clinic is the community’s only free medical/health care safety-net provider. Free clinics are able to leverage $6 in care for every $1 they receive in funding. The state funding provided for Free Clinics in Virginia, including the Arlington Free Clinic, is absolutely essential to leveraging the necessary contributions and volunteers to keep the doors open.
Last year, the Arlington Free Clinic received help from over 700 volunteers including 170 physicians and made a significant difference in the lives of 1,600 individuals and their families. Every month, the Arlington Free Clinic holds a lottery to accept new patients in which around 145 individuals wait to receive care, but only 25 are accepted.
The Arlington Free Clinic has received numerous awards including Charity Navigator’s 4-Star rating for excellence in fiscal management and the 2010 Virginia Health Care Foundation Heroes in Healthcare Award.
###Contact: Jason Stanford804.698.1049DelALopez@house.virginia.gov