HEALTH

Whitman-Walker Health expands in Logan Circle

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There will soon be a new addition to 14th St. NW in Washington. Whitman-Walker Health is expanding its footprint in the Logan Circle neighborhood. The new state-of-the-art medical center will offer expanded programs and services for patients.

The Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center at 14th and R streets NW is not going away, but in 2014, Whitman-Walker’s direct medical care services will move a few blocks south into a brand new, 43,000 square-foot building.

“We are now living in a post healthcare reform world where more people have insurance and more people will come to get basic medical care from us,” says Don Blanchon of Whitman-Walker Health.

Since 2006, Whitman-Walker Health says its patient population has nearly doubled in size and with the neighborhood around it continuing to grow, officials decided to expand its foothold with the new location at 1525 14th St. NW.

“Sixty percent of the patients that come to the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center live in the five zip codes that run north to south on 14th Street,” says Blanchon.

The staff will continue to focus on serving D.C.’s gay community and providing care for HIV and AIDS patients, but Whitman-Walker officials say they’re also evolving and expanding.

While patients won’t be housed here, the center is being referred to as a “health care home.”

“Oftentimes in the past it’s been in a physician office, an urgent care setting,” says Blanchon. “For some people it’s in the ER of a hospital. We really want to see it as a home, as a place where people feel comfortable and welcomed.”

With more space there will be more exam rooms, a bigger pharmacy and new optical services, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The dental program will triple in size.

Meanwhile, the existing Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center will be used for administrative functions and community health and wellness programs.

“Smoke cessation, helping manage mild depression, nutrition education and managing obesity,” says Blanchon.

To add services and programming, Whitman-Walker health will need to add to its staff. The current staff, about 140 employees, will be expanded over the next 18 months.

Officials say the Max Robinson Center in Anacostia will still be used for patient services and administrative offices.

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