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Community donates funds for community clinic

July 28, 1999|By SCOTT BUTKI

The Washington County Commissioners Tuesday donated $15,000 from a contingency fund to help the Community Free Clinic stay open until mid-September.

The Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to vote on a similar donation in the next few weeks.

The donations were recommended by County Administrator Rodney Shoop, county Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian, city Administrator Bruce Zimmerman and city Finance Director Al Martin, according to Shoop.

The vote was 4-0 with Commissioner Bill Wivell absent.

Without the county donation, the clinic was expected to run out of money by late August.

The city and county donations are intended to help the clinic stay open until mid-September, when it will find out if it will receive funds from the Washington County Gaming Commission. The Gaming Commission distributes funds collected from organizations that conduct tip-jar gambling.

The clinic has asked the Gaming Commission for $60,000.

While the Gaming Commission has been generous, there is no guarantee it will give the clinic money, said Lorri Rice, the clinic's executive director. The clinic received $40,000 in February 1999.

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The county and city donations are contingent on three stipulations: That the clinic develop a business plan, fill five vacancies on the 12-member board of directors and get a business manager or executive director to manage operations and raise funds.

The requirements are reasonable and fair, Rice said.

A United Way agency, the Community Free Clinic also gets financial support from churches, service organizations and individuals. It has monthly operating costs of $20,000.

The clinic, founded in 1990, serves people who don't qualify for Medicaid or other assistance programs but who cannot afford private insurance.

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