Arkansas: Finance Committee Votes to Support HIV Clinic
October 9, 2008
On Tuesday, the Benton County Finance Committee approved an allocation to the 2009 annual budget to hire an administrator for the Washington County HIV Clinic for one year. The $34,000 appropriation passed by a 4-2 vote.
Benton County residents make up 37 percent of the clinic's patients, said Beverly Williams, a justice of the peace who visited the clinic on the county's behalf. "They have patients there from every district in Benton County," she said.
The clinic's preventive services also make it important to Benton County residents. "If a woman is pregnant and she has HIV, they immediately send this woman and put her on medicine, and that baby is protected," Williams said. The clinic serves between six and 12 pregnant patients annually, she noted.
While recognizing the importance of the clinic's work, Justices Debra Hobbs and Marge Wolf voted against the allocation. Wolf said she is concerned about the clinic's financial viability.
Williams said the clinic is forming a committee charged with finding alternative funding sources, including the possibility of seeking 501(c)3 status or creating a support organization -- a "friends of the clinic" nonprofit. Without nonprofit status, she acknowledged, the clinic's grant funds are largely limited to start-up money.
Benton County Daily Record
10.08.2008; Tom Treweek