A new walk-up coronavirus testing site opened Tuesday along Columbia Pike.
The testing center is a partnership of Arlington County, Virginia Hospital Center and Arlington Free Clinic. At a media briefing yesterday, officials from all three spoke about the importance of the facility in the fight against the virus.
With the new testing site “we can get services to the more vulnerable and low income individuals,” who might not have access to a vehicle for drive-through testing sites or to health insurance to pay for testing, said Dr. Reuben Varghese, Arlington Public Health Director.
“They often have limited access to health care and because of their work, they don’t have the opportunity sometimes to stay home like a number of the people in our region,” Varghese said.
The new testing site is open from 1-5 p.m. weekdays, and available to anyone who makes an appointment by calling (703) 558-5766. Health insurance is not needed and those who require extra treatment after testing may be referred to the Arlington Free Clinic.
Arlington County has seen the highest proportion of COVID-19 cases in the 22204 zip code, along the Columbia Pike corridor, emphasizing the need for more testing in the area.
The latest countywide statistics from the Virginia Dept. of Health report 1,460 coronavirus cases, 300 hospitalizations and 69 deaths in Arlington. That’s an increase of 44 cases, 12 hospitalizations and 3 deaths overnight.
Statewide, VDH reports 26,746 cases, 3,520 hospitalizations, 927 deaths and just over 180,000 tests administered.
More on the walk-up testing center, via a county press release:
Arlington County, in partnership with Virginia Hospital Center and the Arlington Free Clinic, will open its first walk-up COVID-19 sample collection site at the Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 South Dinwiddie Street.
“Arlington is committed to assuring everyone in our community has access to the testing they need during this pandemic,” said Dr. Reuben Varghese, Arlington Public Health Director. “This is an important partnership that will help our more vulnerable or low-income groups who do not have access to cars to walk up and get tested.”
“This is an exciting effort to create a more equitable testing model for everyone who needs it,” said Nancy White, Executive Director, Arlington Free Clinic. “This model aligns with our mission to provide high-quality health care to low-income, uninsured Arlington residents through the generosity of donors and volunteers.”
“Virginia Hospital Center is happy to lend the expertise we have gathered from the North Quincy drive-through site to support the efforts at Arlington Mill,” said James Meenan, Director of the VHC Outpatient Lab. “Our primary focus is always the health and safety of our community and increasing access to testing is a critical step forward in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.”
- The clinic opens Tuesday, May 12 and will operate weekdays between 1-5 p.m.
- To be tested, patients must obtain a clinician referral and then schedule an appointment by calling 703-558-5766. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site.
- Residents without health insurance can still access testing through the walk-up collection site by calling the appointment number. A VHC clinician will screen for symptoms over the phone and provide a follow-up referral to the Arlington Free Clinic if needed.
- Individuals who visit the collection site should follow the instructions of their health care provider and self-isolate while they await their results.
- Patients with an appointment may access the clinic at Arlington Mill Community Center by entering through the outdoor plaza facing Columbia Pike.
- Individuals must bring proof of identity (U.S. government ID not required).
To protect patient privacy, media access to the site will be restricted.
Arlington Free Clinic is looking for a few good dentists to join their volunteer team.
The clinic, which is located just off Columbia Pike at 2921 11th Street S., wants to serve more patients than its current paid dental team can handle, and is seeking volunteers to help out.
Arlington Free Clinic is a nonprofit that provides medical care to low-income adults who do not have health insurance. The clinic is volunteer driven and a majority of its funds are donated by people and businesses from the community. It provides primary care, mental health services, physical therapy, and a pharmacy for its patients.
“About five years ago we started a modest dental program,” said Alicia Nieves, the Director of Development and Communications at the clinic. “We gradually filled out our new space using a grant from the Virginia Health Care foundation to increase our staff, dig into dental and truly meet our patient’s needs.”
The clinic also received a $250,000 donation for dental care from a retired Arlington special education teacher in 2018.
More from a press release:
Arlington Free Clinic (AFC) is the only nonprofit providing free, high-quality medical and dental care to low-income, uninsured Arlington adults.
AFC has been caring for Arlingtonians in need for over 25 years. In 2015, AFC expanded beyond medical care and launched a dental program. For the first three years, AFC delivered dental services 24 hours per week using space donated by Arlington County.
AFC took its early success in dental – and the knowledge that patient needs far outstripped the capacity of the modest, offsite program – to make a case for successfully raising the $1.5M needed to grow our dental program and move it onsite.
Since January 2019, Arlington Free Clinic has been ramping up operations in its new, onsite, three-chair dental clinic. We added Dentist and Dental Assistant hours, hired a Dental Hygienist, and began integrating Hygienist Students and Dentist Volunteers.
Currently, operating at maximum paid staffing levels, we are able to provide 250 dental visits per month. The only way we will be able to add additional visits and see more patients is by supplementing the paid dental team with volunteers.
On the medical side of our organization, the majority of care is delivered pro bono by providers who come onsite to see patients or agree to see patients for free in their private offices throughout the community. We have had over 25 years to establish and solidify connections within the medical community, but we are just beginning to form relationships with local dentists.
If you or a dentist you know is interested in learning more about volunteering with Arlington Free Clinic’s Dental Program, we encourage you to get in touch. The commitment can be anywhere from four hours once/week to every other month. We have daytime, afternoon, and evening hours, and are open Saturday mornings in the dental clinic, and would welcome volunteer dentists any time.
- To get involved as a volunteer dentist, call Jody Steiner Kelly at 703-979-1425, ext. 124
- To learn more about becoming a patient, call 703-979-1400
- To support financially, call the development department at 703-979-1425, ext. 121
Chamber Backs Amazon Incentives — “The Arlington Chamber of Commerce has provided its formal stamp of approval, supporting the planned Arlington County government incentive package for Amazon. The package ‘will have positive benefits for the Arlington community as a whole,’ the business organization said.” [InsideNova]
New County Finance Director Appointed — “Maria Meredith has been named Arlington County’s new Director of the Department of Management and Finance (DMF), effective January 14, 2019. She will be responsible for approximately 50 staff involved in the County’s financial operations, including management and budget, accounting, purchasing and real estate assessment.” [Arlington County]
Arlington Road Project Recognized — “We’re ready to announce the winners of our highest honor of the year — the 2018 Streetsie Award for Best Urban Street Redesign. Our readers weighed in and chose… Arlington, which received more than 1,000 votes for its road diet/protected bike lane project on Veitch Street.” [StreetsBlog]
Local Startup Struggling to Pay Bills — “Trustify, the Arlington company that provides private investigation services through digital platforms, has had trouble making payroll since October and is in arrears to its landlord and several other vendors, according to at least five employees who recently left the company.” [Washington Business Journal]
Button for Filing Air Noise Complaints — Residents in Maryland, Northwest D.C. and elsewhere have a new tool for filing complaints about noise from Reagan National Airport air traffic: a converted Amazon Dash button that does the heavy lifting of filing complaints with aviation authorities. [Washington Post]
‘Floss-Cutting’ Ceremony for Dental Clinic — “The Arlington Free Clinic recently celebrated completion of a $1.5 million fund-raising drive to support construction and outfitting of a dental facility to support those in need across Arlington. The capital campaign, which was launched by support from longtime volunteer and donor Mary Mellon (whose father died of a tooth infection he could not afford to treat when she was a teen), will allow the clinic to triple the number of dental patients it can serve.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
A long-time pharmacy volunteer at the Arlington Free Clinic has donated a quarter million dollars to the nonprofit medical center.
The $250,000 gift came from a retired Arlington special education teacher who prefers anonymity.
The clinic’s benefactor grew up in Pennsylvania coal country with immigrant parents. Her mother died of diabetes when she was nine; her father continued raising her until he died of an untreated dental infection that spread to his brain when she was 18.
She came to the clinic one day and sat down with Arlington Free Clinic staff and asked what could be done with better funding.
“We started talking about dental, and her eyes lit up and the lights came on,” recounted Nancy White, the clinic’s executive director. White says that the volunteer wanted to support her father’s legacy with a gift that would prevent others from suffering how he did and to prevent children from losing their parents to preventable health problems.
The gift inspired the Arlington Free Clinic to set a $1 million fundraising goal to develop an in-house oral health program that would benefit low income adults without health insurance.
Currently, the clinic uses one dental chair at Arlington’s Department of Human Services to perform dental procedures. With the funding, the clinic hopes to rearrange their space at 2921 11th Street S., near Columbia Pike, so that three dental chairs could be installed where the pharmacy currently is, among other dental-related improvements.
The nonprofit has already raised $800,000 toward that goal, which they hope to achieve by November, and has planned upcoming events like a Bites & Blues fundraiser at Whitlow’s on Wilson on April 28.
This is not the first large donation received by the clinic. In 2011, the Arlington Free Clinic received a $677,500 gift to benefit mental health services.
ACPD Sending Supplies to Houston — The Arlington County Police Department is sending relief supplies to Houston Police, “who have been tirelessly serving those affected by Hurricane Harvey,” the department announced yesterday in a tweet. [Twitter]
More on County Board Debate — At Tuesday night’s Arlington Civic Federation debate, the two independent candidates blasted the County Board for supposedly being too pro cozy with business interests. Charles McCullough “several times ripped the county government for extending millions of dollars in ‘payola and corporate welfare’ in an effort to win economic-development successes,” while Audrey Clement “portrayed Arlington leaders as sharing a matrimonial bed with the development community, rubber-stamping new projects to reap the tax revenue they generate.” [InsideNova]
Arlington Encouraging Vanpools — Arlington County, via its Arlington Transportation Partners program, is encouraging commuters to join a vanpool, touting savings of up to $10,000 a year compared to solo commuting. [Arlington Transportation Partners]
Arlington Free Clinic Women’s Health Program — Grants from the Susan G. Komen foundation are funding a women’s health program at the Arlington Free Clinic and in turn saving the lives of breast cancer patients who otherwise could not afford their healthcare costs. Among those who beat breast cancer with the clinic’s help is one of its employees, a mother of three who found a lump while attending a breast health event in 2003. [WJLA]
Nearby: Rabid Raccoon Found — A raccoon found in an Alexandria park has tested positive for rabies. [Patch]
Flickr pool photo by Vandiik
Cooley Joins DJO Football Staff — Former Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley has joined the Bishop O’Connell High School football staff as the offensive line and tight ends coach. Cooley, who currently co-hosts the afternoon drive radio show on ESPN 980, is shifting to a morning slot at the station, thus allowing him to coach. [Arlington Catholic Herald]
Arlington Tech Light on Female Students — Only 21 percent of incoming freshmen at the new Arlington Tech high school program are female. That number is “not high enough,” an administrator told community members. [InsideNova]
North Arlington Road Closure — N. Sycamore Street is scheduled to be closed from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today between Little Falls Road and 27th Street due to water service installation work. [Arlington County]
Architect Chosen for Gondola Study — Portland, Oregon-based ZGF Architects has been selected to conduct the feasibility study for a gondola system between Rosslyn and Georgetown. ZGF, which also has offices in D.C., worked on the preliminary concept for the Portland Aerial Tram, which opened in 2006. [Georgetowner, Urban Turf]
Real Estate Firm Raises $100,000 for Free Clinic — McLean-based Stewart Commercial Realty has helped to raise more than $100,000 for Arlington Free Clinic’s dental program. The program provides dental care to low-income, uninsured Arlington residents. The company held a fundraiser for the program in Courthouse last weekend. [Facebook]
Peter’s Take is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
As I wrote in a column a few months ago, it’s important every so often to take a step back and recognize organizations that provide vital services in our community. In that earlier column, I profiled AFAC—the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
Today, I’d like to highlight the Arlington Free Clinic.
AFC’s mission is to provide free, high-quality medical care to low-income, uninsured Arlington County adults. AFC relies on private donations and volunteer services. In the wake of passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the natural question arises: is there a continuing need for AFC and the services it provides?
The answer definitely is: yes.
AFC has spent a considerable amount of time evaluating the potential impacts of the ACA on AFC’s work. AFC has reached these important conclusions:
- many of AFC’s current patients now will be able to get health insurance due to passage of the ACA,
- but a significant number of AFC-qualified Arlington adults will remain uninsured, and
- the number of AFC-qualified Arlington adults will still exceed AFC’s resources to provide care for them.
In light of these conclusions, AFC has decided to:
- provide existing AFC patients information about the ACA, and connect them with assistance to help those eligible to get insurance,
- transition some patients from AFC to new health care providers, and
- provide care to more uninsured, low-income Arlingtonians whom AFC previously had not been able to serve.
More details about the impact of the ACA on AFC are here.
Those Arlington residents whom AFC will continue to serve will have access to a full range of medical services provided on-site within AFC’s primary care setting. Other services, including diagnostic procedures, are provided by AFC’s community partners. The care available through AFC includes:
- Primary care
- Specialty medical care in anesthesiology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, ENT, gastroenterology, hematology, nephrology, oncology, ophthalmology, optometry, orthopedics, pathology, podiatry, psychiatry, pulmonology, radiology, rheumatology, surgery and urology
- Women’s health including annual screening for cervical cancer and access to free mammography for women aged 40 and above
- Mental health
- Physical therapy
- Pharmacy services
- Diagnostic testing
- Patient education programs in breast health, diabetes care, nutrition, asthma care, osteoporosis, and oral health
- Patient support groups
There are a variety of ways in which you can learn more information about AFC.
Peter Rousselot is a former member of the Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Virginia and former chair of the Arlington County Democratic Committee.
Free Clinic Still Needed Post-Obamacare — The Affordable Care Act may help reduce the number of people without health insurance, but it won’t alter the core mission of the Arlington Free Clinic. The clinic will continue to serve the thousands who are expected to remain without health insurance in Arlington even after the health care law is implemented. [Sun Gazette]
Water & Wall to Open Saturday — Water & Wall, a new restaurant in Virginia Square, is set to open on Saturday. The restaurant, from Tim Ma of Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, will serve “eclectic American” cuisine. [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Lava Barre Moving to Rosslyn — Fitness studio Lava Barre is moving from Clarendon to Rosslyn starting early next year. [Facebook]
Flickr photo by Ddimick
Krupicka Uses Marine in Mailer — State Senate candidate Rob Krupicka has gotten the attention of a conservative web site for printing an endorsement from a Marine sergeant, along with a photo of him in uniform, on a campaign mailer. If the Marine is on active duty, such an endorsement would violate military guidelines. The Sun Gazette’s Scott McCaffrey also points out that Krupicka’s mailer also makes reference to supporting “soldiers and their families” — which would refer to members of the Army but not the Marine Corps. Krupicka, an Alexandria city councilman, is facing off against Arlington School Board Chair Libby Garvey and Del. Adam Ebbin in the Democratic primary. [Sun Gazette]
Medical Care By Lottery — Every month, the Arlington Free Clinic holds a lottery to see who will receive medical care. With demand for care exceeding supply, this month only 25 people were selected out of a pool of 140. [WAMU]
Ballston Farmers Market Starts This Week — The Ballston Farmers Market will hold its season grand opening this Thursday. The market is free and held every Thursday (until October) from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. in Wellburn Square, between N. Stuart and N. 9th Streets.
The McLean-based Campbell Hoffman Foundation has given the Free Clinic $677,500 for “continued integration of mental health services within primary care.” AFC says it will also use the funds for “primary and specialty care… and pharmacy services.”
“The funding will support and sustain our essential medical services in Arlington County,” said David Lee, MD, chair of AFC’s board. “We are truly grateful for the Foundation’s trust in our capacity to serve the community and for the opportunity to carry forward its important legacy of primary care.”