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Northam allocates $3 million in CARES Act dollars to help free clinics

Governor Ralph Northam delivers a coronavirus briefing on July 14.
Governor Ralph Northam delivers a coronavirus briefing on July 14.(NBC29)
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 12:55 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV) — Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday $3 million in federal CARES Act dollars to reimburse members of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics (VAFCC) for clinics' COVID-19 expenses, including personal protective equipment, sanitation measures, telehealth and hiring new staff.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, an estimated 226,000 Virginians with incomes between 139 percent and 300 percent of the poverty level had no health coverage prior to the onset of the pandemic. In addition to their existing patients, free clinics have seen demand for their services rise as more Virginians lose jobs and employer-sponsored healthcare.

Free clinics throughout the commonwealth have also provided COVID-19 testing.

“The pandemic has required us to change how we serve our patients, while increasing the number of patients who need our services,” said Anne-Lise Quinn, Executive Director of Culmore Clinic in Falls Church, in the release. “The cost of COVID supplies, like PPE and increased telehealth, has had a large impact on the small budgets of free clinics like ours. This support will help us continue to fulfill our mission of ensuring that everyone has access to health care.”

The VAFCC estimates that free clinics have incurred an average of $40,000 each in unbudgeted expenses for needs related to the pandemic, according to the press release.

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