Community Health Center

We were very interested to see the article about the Arlandria Health Center in Loudoun Extra ["Grant Allows Clinic to Offer Care to All," July 11].

As indicated in the article, it is a federally qualified community health center and receives federal funding of more than $600,000 a year. It may interest the Loudoun community to know that a steering committee has been working for some time on developing the same type of center for our area and will soon be incorporating as a nonprofit and taking other steps necessary to apply for federal designation and funding.

Our steering committee includes representatives from Loudoun County's departments of social services and health, Loudoun Healthcare Inc., Northern Virginia Family Service and our private medical community and will expand to include residents who would benefit from such a center.

Through a grant from Kaiser Permanente, the steering committee has been able to contract with the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia to gather a great deal of the necessary data and do research work for our application as it did for the Arlandria Health Center before it received funding.

Loudoun Healthcare Inc. is helping with the incorporation and nonprofit status and, joining with others from our group, will be contributing time and expertise toward developing and writing the application.

It has been a challenge for our medical community to keep up with the fast pace of growth in our county. We hear daily about the numbers of people who are uninsured and/or have no access to affordable health care. There are at least 9,000 of those people in Loudoun County, and that number is not inclusive nor does it reflect those who are underinsured.

Some evidence of the need for improved access to health care has been the strong demand on our county's free clinic, the large number of people using Loudoun Hospital's emergency rooms as their only source of medical care, the large increase in Health Department patients and the focus on health care coverage by our chamber of commerce.

Very soon we will be asking the citizens of Loudoun County to give us their thoughts about the need for a community health center that would take all comers regardless of income or health coverage as well as provide access to oral health care and mental health services.

It is our firm belief that a community health center like the one in Arlandria could play a vital role in improving Loudoun residents' access to health care within our county. We are excited about the prospect!

David Goodfriend

Chauncey Stokes

Members,

Loudoun Community Health Center Steering Committee

What, No Guns at Work?

An article in The Washington Post, "Guns Worn in Open Legal, but Alarm Va." [A Section, July 15], states that gun owners [may] have been out celebrating a law that took effect July 1.

According to the article, "Virginia statute 15.2-915 now completely prohibits any locality from enacting any regulations on gun ownership, carrying, storage or purchase, except for rules related to the workplace."

I guess I have to wonder why rules related to the workplace have been excepted. If, according to Philip Van Cleave, [president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League], "we have an inherent right," and there is only a need to "worry about the person, not the gun," then wouldn't the workplace be a most logical place to pack a gun?

The employer has certainly vetted the person more thoroughly than anyone else through the application process, procedures that often even include drug testing. Why would an employer object to having an employee pack a gun at work? I would like to hear from our legislators as to why they incorporated this exception into the new law.

S. Ann Robinson

Ashburn