Clinic is only Virginia facility to get Americares grant due to pandemic

Dental Clinic Coordinator Sarah McClellan (left) and dental assistant Raven Davis are shown with the air filtration units in place in each of the dental operatories.
November 30, 2020

The Northern Neck – Middlesex Free Health Clinic is one of 25 free and charitable clinics nationwide to receive a $10,000 grant to cover costs related to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.

The funding was awarded by Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization which sought funding proposals from its network of 1,000 partner clinics and organizations expanding access to health services.

Americares awarded $10,000 grants to 25 nonprofits in 16 states. The Clinic is the only non-profit in Virginia to receive the funding, which will go toward new air filtration systems in the Dental Clinic, including each of its six dental operatories.

“Clinics across the country are struggling at a time when patients need them more than ever,” said Americares Vice President of U.S. Programs Edith Lee. “Many are seeing an influx of new patients while facing increased staffing costs to fill jobs previously done by volunteers and increased costs for PPE. These grants will help ensure that health centers serving low-income, uninsured patients have the resources they need to fight COVID-19 and keep their communities healthy.”

With the rising numbers of families in poverty nationwide, the National Association of Free & Charitable Clinics reports 74 percent of clinics have seen an increase in new, unemployed patients inquiring about care since the start of the pandemic. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of clinics canceled planned fundraisers that provide critical operating funds, according to a recent survey of the association’s 1,400 member clinics nationwide.

The NNMFHC’s pandemic-related facility improvements include the air filtration and purification units throughout the building, as well as extra personal protection equipment and supplies, and thermometers and blood pressure units for patients to use at home. These expenses are on top of its $1.5 million operating budget, and come during a time of increased demand for services and canceled fund-raising events.