Council supports grant application: Funds would allow nonprofit to continue health-services program

Published 12:28 pm Saturday, January 17, 2015

Washington’s City Council supports Metropolitan Community Health Services’ effort to obtain grant funding so Metropolitan can continue providing health-related services to area residents.

During its meeting Monday, the council unanimously authorized the mayor to sign a letter of support related to Metropolitan’s application for continued federal funds through the Service Area Competition grant program. Metropolitan is asking the city to provide the letter of support in an effort to enhance its application.

Metropolitan is seeking a $981,750 grant. Currently, Metropolitan is the recipient of $1.043 million in similar grant funding.

Metropolitan serves residents in Beaufort, Hyde, Martin, Washington and Tyrrell counties. The Agape Community Health Center in Washington is a part of the Metropolitan family, as is a similar clinic in Williamston.

Michael McDuffie, chief operating officer for Metropolitan, told the council Metropolitan is facing competition for its service area. He said another health-services organization that operates seven clinics would like to expand into the area now being served by Metropolitan.

“To strengthen our application, we would like to have the City of Washington support … our grant application,” McDuffie said.

“Mr. Mayor, this group is doing a service for people that need it. I certainly support it,” said Councilman Doug Mercer, who made the motion regarding the letter of support.

In 2013, Metropolitan, a faith-based nonprofit organization, served 2,472 “unique” patients, of which 54 percent were medically uninsured at the time of service, according to a document included in the council’s agenda packet for its Monday meeting. About 70 percent of those patients reside in Beaufort County, according to Metropolitan officials.

McDuffie informed the council the dental component Metropolitan’s health services is scheduled to reopen Feb. 19.

Mayor Mac Hodges asked McDuffie to consider contacting the dental school at East Carolina University to see if Metropolitan and the dental school, which has several students from Beaufort County, could work together to provide free or low-cost dental services to some county residents. McDuffie said he would explore that possibility.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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