Community Clinic Inc. (CCI) has raised just over $1 million in pledges toward opening a medical clinic to serve the uninsured and under-insured at Franklin Park in Greenbelt, MD.
The nonprofit has another $1 million plus to go by the end of August to reach $2.3 million—or its opportunity to lease the space in the old Giant Learning Center expires, according to Kathleen Knolhoff, CCI's associate CEO.
In light of support the county pledged Friday for $300,000, Dr. William Flynt, CCI's CEO, is hopeful other donors will pitch in—an optimism he shared with the Greenbelt City Council at a special session Monday.
CCI also has a pledge from CareFirst/Blue Cross/Blue Shield for $772,000, making the total raised thus far $1,072,000. But for it to get the funds CareFirst's has pledged, it must first raise the full $2.3 million.
Greenbelt City Council weighed in on the health care agency's behalf at its special session, voting 6-0 to send Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker a letter thanking him for the $300,000, but asking for a total of $500,000 in support. This letter was to be copied to Greenbelt's Four Cities coalition partners—College Park, Berwyn Heights and New Carrollton.
The vote also included passage of Mayor Pro-Tem Emmett Jordan's suggestion to write a generic letter of support that CCI could give potential donors.
Mayor Judith "J" Davis was not present for the vote as she was out of state visiting her sister and niece before they returned to China.
If CCI reaches its financial goal, it will adjust its floor plan somewhat then start building the new clinic, according to Knolhoff.
"It would take eight weeks to build it," she said. "And we expect that we would be able to be in the space by the beginning of 2013."
CCI has four existing sites in Maryland, including a facility in Greenbelt that offers the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and a family planning clinic. Its other centers are in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and Gaithersburg, where it served 16,000 patients in 2011, according to an overview on the City of Greenbelt's website.
The Franklin Park facility would be CCI's first full service center in Greenbelt and in Prince George's County—and would provide primary care, and dental and behavior health services. CCI would also likely move its family planning center to the new clinic.
By the time the new CCI opens, it will be able to accept Medicaid, Medicare and many private insurances, as well as uninsured patients, Knolhoff said. As a federally qualified health center, CCI gets some funding from the federal government. This helps toward offsetting its costs for providing care to uninsured patients on an income-based sliding fee scale, she explained.
While it may be housed in Greenbelt, CCI's services will not be limited to Greenbelt or Prince George's county citizens, anyone in Maryland can take advantage of the clinic, according to Knolhoff. But generally people tend to go to doctors who are conveniently located near where they live or work, she said.
The proposed site at Franklin Park has 7,700 square feet. CCI's preliminary architectural design provides for 15 exam rooms, 6 offices, a classroom, and a 20-seat reception area.
Editor's Note: This story was clarified to reflect why Mayor Davis was absent for the vote.