Whitman-Walker Reports Good Health

Community health center reports strong financials, increase in patients, and ''cautious optimism'' for 2013

Whitman-Walker Health (WWH), the nonprofit community health center specializing in culturally competent care for LGBT people and individuals with HIV/AIDS, has reported improvements in quality of care and overall financial health while increasing its number of patients during 2012, marking its third consecutive year of financial surplus.

In a March 12 announcement, WWH reported an unaudited surplus of approximately $2.4 million, out of $31 million in total revenues.

”Our health center business model continued to produce strong results in 2012,” Don Blanchon, WWH’s executive director, was quoted as saying in the announcement. ”And we are cautiously optimistic about 2013 and beyond. We are taking necessary steps to compete in a post-health care reform world. Yet there is the very real possibility of reduced federal funding to WWH over time, which in turn will present new challenges for our health center. That is why it is so important for the entire community to support WWH now and in the future.”

WWH also reported providing health care services to 13,618 people in 2012. Since 2009, the health center reported increases ranging from 24 percent to 85 percent in the number of primary medical care patients, dental care patients, mental health care patients, addictions counseling patients and individuals seeking STD/STI clinic services. Nearly three-quarters of patients reside in the District, while 15 percent live in Maryland, 10 percent in Virginia. Half of all patients identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and 22 percent of patients were HIV-positive.

According to internal surveys gauging patient satisfaction with services, 96 percent of patients said they would refer family and friends to WWH for health care concerns. WWH also reported high ”quality of care” indicators, including high percentages of patients with HIV/AIDS on antiretrovirals, controlled blood-sugar levels for patients with diabetes, preventative cervical-cancer screenings, and controlled blood pressure for patients suffering from hypertension.

”Providing the highest quality of care for our patients remains our highest priority,” Dr. Ray Martins, WWH chief medical officer, said in the March 12 statement. ”Many of the health indicators we track exceed our own performance measures and, in many cases, exceeded national benchmarks for care. This is a testament to the commitment and dedication of our entire health center team.”

Whitman-Walker recently received a Level II PCMH (Patient-Centered Medical Home) designation for the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, at 1701 14th St. NW, from the National Committee on Quality Assurance. Under the PCMH model, patients work with a team of doctors, nurses, medical assistants, public-benefits navigators and lawyers, if needed, in an attempt to provide fully comprehensive, coordinated care.

WWH also reported it will move forward in the next two years with the construction of a patient-centered medical home, to be located at 14th and P Streets NW.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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