FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2012
Delegates Lopez and Morris Call Upon the General Assembly to Restore Funding
for Free Clinics and Community Health Care Providers Across Virginia
(Richmond) – Today Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-49) and Delegate Rick Morris (R-64) called upon the House of Delegates and Members of the House Appropriations Committee to restore funding for Free Clinics and Community Health Care Providers across Virginia.
Their Budget Amendment would restore the 2% cut ($127,728) in the first year and the 50% cut ($6.4 million) in the second year from the General Fund. These cuts would deliver a devastating blow to the Free Clinics around Virginia, the Virginia Health Care Foundation, AIDS Center and Local Intervention Center, Sickle cell community providers, and Community Health Care Providers across Virginia. This funding would restore critical dollars for the providers of the health care safety net in the Commonwealth.
Lower income families rely on these health care providers. Indeed, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that an estimated 1,025,400 Virginians were uninsured for all of 2008. According to the Virginia Health Care Foundation, in 2007 Virginia ranked 48th among all states and the District of Columbia in Medicaid coverage of low-income adults. This is the most important reason why there is such a great need for Free Clinics in Virginia.
Delegate Lopez stated, “In the 49th District, the Arlington Free Clinic has to hold a lottery every month to determine who they provide free, quality health care. Approximately 145 people take part in the lottery each month. Sadly, they are only able to accommodate 25 individuals. I call upon the Members of the General Assembly to restore funding for Free Clinics and Community Health Centers across Virginia.”
"In the 64th District, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic serves patients from Isle of Wight County, Southampton County, City of Suffolk, and the City of Franklin” said Delegate Morris. “Approximately 60% of the patients served are women, and 90% of the patients are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this would be an annual income of $33,075. Volunteers are essential to the successful operation of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic. Since its opening, volunteers have donated more than 32,000 hours to improve the health and lives of patients. The restoration of this funding would directly benefit the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, and allow them to offer their valuable services."
In 2010, Free Clinics provided:
- 169,288 general medical visits worth $16.5 million, and 61,016 specialty medical visits worth $14.8 million.
- 711,542 prescription medications worth $68.6 million to their patients.
- Twenty-six Virginia Free Clinics currently provide dental care. A total of 45,178 dental visits worth $10.8 million were provided in 2010.
- 41 Free Clinics provided 17,575 counseling visits worth $1.4 million.
And they do it efficiently. For every one dollar spent, Free Clinics provided access to $6.00 in health care services for their patients. This strong ratio is due to Free Clinics’ extraordinary ability to leverage the volunteer and charitable capacity of the health system.
More importantly, low income individuals who do not have access to these health care safety-net providers will instead use emergency rooms or go untreated. Both options will be incredibly more costly for Virginia and our communities over the long term. Restoring funding for these critical programs makes sense in our communities and it makes sense fiscally over the long-term.
Contact: Jason Stanford 571.336.2147 DelegateLopez@gmail.com