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Whitman-Walker
names new executive director

Whitman-Walker
names new executive director

Donald Blanchon named new director of D.C.'s Whitman-Walker Clinic

Washington, D.C.'s Whitman-Walker Clinic, the region's largest provider of HIV care and support services, announced Wednesday that it has hired Donald Blanchon as its new executive director, The Washington Post reports. Blanchon, the former vice president for Medicare and Medicaid programs at the medical management company Schaller Anderson, will join Whitman-Walker on May 1. Interim executive director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti will resume her position as chief operating officer at that time.

"Donald Blanchon comes to us with remarkable health care credentials that will bring new and essential skills to lead the clinic into the future," Jannette Williams, chair of Whitman-Walker's board of directors, told the Post. "He is well-prepared to continue implementing Whitman-Walker Clinic's new business model, which is focused on increasing the number of insured clients and expanding into primary care services."

Whitman-Walker announced earlier this year that the cash-strapped agency was refocusing to place more emphasis on providing primary medical care to patients with health care insurance as a way to bring in more money to the agency. Clinic officials say the change in direction will not affect the agency's programs that provide care to low-income HIV-positive District of Columbia residents.

Financial problems--some created by long delays in payments by the D.C. health department for services--caused Whitman-Walker in mid 2005 to cut $2.5 million from its budget and end or scale back its food bank, emergency financial assistance, case management, and housing programs. The clinic also laid off nearly 70 employees and permanently closed a satellite location in suburban Maryland. A second satellite office in suburban Virginia also was set to be closed, but several local groups and governments contributed enough money to keep the clinic open through the end of 2006. (The Advocate)

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