Arlington, VA

The Virginia Hospital Center’s Carlin Springs Road location is closed for good and demolition is on the way.

The closure has been a long time coming, with Arlington County acquiring 601 S. Carlin Springs Road as part of a land swap with the hospital. VHC, in turn, received land from the county that it’s now using for the expansion of its main campus.

Jessica Baxter, spokeswoman for Arlington’s Department of Environmental Services, said the Carlin Springs center had been leased back to VHC, allowing it to wind down operations there through Dec. 31, 2019. A childcare center closed last summer and VHC’s urgent care clinic recently closed.

“As part of the approval to acquire the Edison property adjacent to the main hospital campus, the Carlin Springs campus was transitioned to Arlington County,” a hospital spokesperson said. “The service closed in December 2019 when our lease ended.”

The Carlin Springs site is now set to be used for county facilities — though the exact plans are yet to be determined.

“The County is currently developing plans to remove the building because it is incompatible with any County use,” Baxter said in an email. “No timing has been set — and is contingent on available funds. Any future uses of the site will involve a public process.”

The lights are off inside the building and a padlock was placed on what was once the front door. A sign on the door — and emails to urgent care patients — encouraged people to instead use VHC’s urgent care clinic that recently opened in Crystal City.

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(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Virginia Hospital Center recently opened a new immediate care facility in the Crystal City area, but plans are already in the works to expand the facilities.

“Virginia Hospital Center Immediate Care will be adding family medicine and OB/GYN care (by appointment) in coming months,” a spokesperson told ARLnow in an email.

Staff at the center said the plan is to start offering primary care services in June.

The center at 764 23rd Street S., which opened earlier this month, currently operates as an immediate care facility for non-emergency conditions. This includes things like colds and flus, minor lacerations or burns, and ear, eye or urinary infections.

The new location will put Virginia Hospital Center services within scooter distance of Amazon’s new HQ2.

VHC currently offers primary care treatment at its main hospital campus (1625 N. George Mason Drive) and in Shirlington (2800 Shirlington Road). The hospital earlier this week started providing trauma services at its Emergency Room.

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(Updated at 8 p.m.) Virginia Hospital Center is now operating, effectively, as a Level II Trauma Center.

Trauma operations took effect Monday morning. The official Level II designation that VHC is working towards indicates that the Arlington hospital is equipped to handle serious trauma cases — everything from falls to crashes to gunshot wounds — with properly-trained staff (including board-certified trauma surgeons) and necessary equipment on hand 24 hours a day.

“Virginia Hospital Center, as of 8:00 a.m. [Monday], began operating a trauma surgery service and the Hospital is staffed as a Level II Trauma Center,” the hospital said in a statement. “It takes approximately a year to achieve the designation to operate as a Level II Trauma Center.”

“Becoming a Level II Trauma Center is a rigorous process that must be approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia,” a PR rep for the hospital added. “Virginia Hospital Center is partnering with George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), OrthoVirginia and Arlington County Fire & EMS in this key initiative… It is projected that the Hospital will be able to provide care close to home for about 1,000 trauma patients a year, who otherwise would have had to be transported greater distances to other hospitals.”

In the past, patients with serious traumatic injuries in Arlington were typically rushed to Inova Fairfax Hospital or George Washington University Hospital, even though VHC was often closer. In 2016, for instance, a woman struck and seriously injured by a driver just blocks from the hospital was brought via ambulance to Inova Fairfax.

Now, however, most trauma patients will be brought to Virginia Hospital Center, cutting down on transport times.

Anne Marsh, EMS Chief for the Arlington County Fire Department, said “for the first couple of months” unstable, multi-system trauma patients — the most dire cases — will continue to be brought to GW or Inova Fairfax, as part of a “soft roll out.”

Most other patients — except those closer to the other hospitals (in Rosslyn, for instance) — will be brought to Virginia Hospital Center. The first such patient was transported by Arlington County medics to VHC on Monday morning, Marsh said.

“We’re excited because it’s a great resource to have within Arlington,” said Marsh. “Our transport times in Arlington are very, very low — around 5 minutes in most cases — and the fact that we can respond within our time frames… is very exciting and very advantageous to Arlington County as a community.”

Shorter transport times to the hospital won’t just benefit patients in need of care, it will also benefit paramedics. Rather than a longer trip out to Fairfax County or Foggy Bottom, Arlington County EMS units will now be able to stay within the county to transport patients and restock supplies, reducing downtime.

Marsh noted that ACFD personnel have been training in coordination with the hospital and that the department and VHC “have worked really closely together” on the new trauma operations.

“It’s been a long while,” Marsh said of the years-long effort to provide trauma care within Arlington County.

In November hospital officials told the Washington Business Journal that they expect to break even, financially, on its additional trauma capabilities.

“It’s worth it to do it for the community, and it adds some credibility to the great work that we do here,” the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer told the Business Journal.

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Morning Notes

Beyer on Impeachment Vote — “Voting for these articles of impeachment is the only moral course of action, the only way to honor our oath of office. I have no doubt that the votes I cast today will stand the test of time.” [Press Release]

Car2go Bye Bye — “Share Now, the German company that manages the car rental company until recently known as Car2Go, has announced it will exit the North American market effective February 29, 2020… There are currently 150,694 users in D.C., according to a company official who isn’t authorized to speak on the record.” [DCist, Share Now]

Volunteers Read to Babies in NICU — “Studies show private neonatal intensive care unit rooms can be too quiet, with premature babies not getting enough sound and stimulation, so Virginia Hospital Center uses trained volunteers to read popular children’s books to its tiniest patients when their parents can’t be there.” [NBC 4]

Free Lyft Rides Starting TomorrowUpdated at 9 a.m. — “A regional nonprofit is again planning to offer free rides through Lyft to help keep drunk drivers off Alexandria streets during the holidays. Starting on Dec. 20, the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) will offer its annual Holiday SoberRide program nightly from 10 p.m.-4 a.m., until Jan. 1.” [ALXnow]

Water Main Break in Bluemont — Updated at 9 a.m. — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews working on a leaking 6-inch valve at 5650 4th St N. Some 100 water customers could be affected. Traffic is diverted around the work site. Estimated time of completion: no later than 7pm.” [Twitter]

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Morning Notes

Hospital CEO Retiring Next Year — “Virginia Hospital Center President and CEO Jim Cole is stepping down after more than three decades with the organization. Cole, chief for 25 of his 35 years with the Arlington hospital, announced his retirement internally Monday. It’s set to take effect Sept. 1, 2020.” [Washington Business Journal]

County Crew Rescues Phone from Storm Drain — “So they got specialized shovels. And then the guy GOT INTO THE DRAIN and dig through the leaves, following the pinging and vibrating and found the phone! The phone was at 1% power when it came out. Still can’t believe it. Above and beyond. Kudos to Arlington County.” [Facebook/Arlington DES]

Bijan Ghaisar 911 Call Released — “Police in Arlington County, Virginia, have released part of a 911 call that set in motion a chase that ended when U.S. Park Police shot and killed Bijan Ghaisar in 2017… a caller tells Arlington County police that she is an Uber passenger whose ride-share was just involved in a crash, and the other driver, Ghaisar, has left the scene.” [WTOP, Fox 5]

It’s Giving Tuesday — Among the local nonprofits to consider donating to today, on Giving Tuesday, are: Doorways for Women and Families, Melwood, Arlington Thrive, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Arlington Food Assistance CenterOffender Aid and Restoration, the Arlington-Alexandria Gay & Lesbian Alliance, and Culpepper Garden. [Twitter/@ARLnowDOTcom]

Del. Alfonso Lopez Named Co-Whip — “Majority Leader-elect Charniele Herring has appointed key leadership positions within the House Democratic Caucus. The whips and policy chairs will help guide the new Democratic majority through the 2020 legislative session.” [Press Release]

Ballston BID Holding ‘Cupcake Wars’ Event — “Join BallstonConnect Club and Cookology for a fun and interactive day of cupcake baking and decorating. Based on the popular Food Network show of the same name, guests will compete to create the most unique cupcake and take home the title of Cupcake Champion!” [Ballston BID]

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Morning Notes

VHC to Take More Trauma Patients — “Virginia Hospital Center is preparing to become a trauma center. The Arlington hospital, now amid a major campus expansion, is taking steps to secure Level 2 trauma designation — meaning it could handle more serious cases like head injuries and complex fractures with a devoted response team, led by an in-house general surgeon.” [Washington Business Journal]

APS May Be Rethinking School Swap — “As the potentially contentious redistricting of elementary-school boundaries begins to take shape, Arlington school leaders may be tiptoeing away just slightly from somewhat radical suggestions they offered just weeks ago.” [InsideNova]

AWLA Rescues Kitten Near Pentagon –“We received a call about a car parked near the Pentagon, with a note under the windshield stating that there was a kitten up inside the engine. Using a mix of patience and really yummy cat food, our officers were able to safely remove the kitten and bring her back to the shelter.” [Facebook]

Arlington-Made App Highlighted by Apple — “In honor of Veterans Day, Arlington, Virginia-based Sandboxx, creator of a platform that keeps military families connected, is being featured in Apple’s app store as its App of the Day.” [Technically DC]

Arlington Co. Makes Best-for-Vets List — Ballston-based contractor CACI is on a new list of the Best Companies for Veterans. [Tysons Reporter, Monster]

Sullivan Selected as Caucus Chair — “Virginia Democrats on Saturday chose Eileen Filler-Corn to become speaker of the House of Delegates, a pick that managed to be both historic and conventional for a party that flipped both chambers of the General Assembly in elections Tuesday… Del. Charniele L. Herring (Alexandria) will be the new majority leader, becoming the first woman and the first African American to serve in that post. Del. Richard C. ‘Rip’ Sullivan Jr… will be caucus chairman.” [Washington Post, Blue Virginia]

First Flakes Today? — Some light “conversational” snow may fall today as a cold front passes through. Meanwhile, NBC 4’s Doug Kammerer expects this winter to be colder and snowier than usual. [Capital Weather Gang, NBC 4]

New Korean Chicken Eatery Near Fairlington — “Korean chicken restaurant Choong Man Chicken is coming to… Shoppes at Summit Centre (4700 King Street).” [ALXnow]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

Construction Underway on Hospital Expansion — “Shovels are in the ground and buildings are coming down as Virginia Hospital Center embarks on the nitty-gritty of a three-year, quarter-billion-dollar expansion effort.” [InsideNova]

Marymount Launches Intrapreneurship Initiative — “Marymount University’s School of Business and Technology (SBT) has launched an initiative to address one of the most significant talent gaps in the greater Washington region – a shortage of graduates who are prepared to use entrepreneurial skills to help employers grow and meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.” [Press Release]

Courthouse Office Building Sold — “Another Arlington office building has traded hands with the buyer citing Amazon HQ2 as a reason for optimism.  American Real Estate Partners, in partnership with Rockwood Capital, announced Tuesday it acquired the Arlington Plaza office building at 2000 15th St. North.” [Bisnow]

Metro Seeking Feedback on Bus Changes — “Metro is proposing service changes to selected bus routes based on input from customers and local governments, to increase on-time performance and ridership, and respond to planning studies and market changes.” Changes are proposed for the 3Y, 7F and 7Y routes. [WMATA]

Why Hoskins Left for Fairfax — “Victor Hoskins may be done working on Amazon HQ2 in Arlington County, but he’s certainly not done talking about it. The former head of Arlington Economic Development, in an interview with Bisnow, cited post-Amazon fatigue as one of the reasons he decided to leave and take a new job as CEO of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority. ” [Bisnow]

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Morning Notes

Hospital Construction Starting Soon — “Around the time most local residents are firing up the grills for mid-summer barbecues, Virginia Hospital Center will be firing up the bulldozers as it moves forward with a long-awaited expansion. Hospital officials aim to have their land-swap agreement with the county government in place by the end of July, and ‘the plan is to begin construction shortly thereafter.'” [InsideNova]

Swastika in S. Arlington Park — “From a local Nextdoor group: someone drew swastikas on a sign board in Troy Park near S. Glebe Road. A parks department spokeswoman says the graffiti has been covered up and no other incidents of this kind have been reported recently.” [Twitter]

When To Report an Oily Sheen on the Water — “A rainbow sheen can result from iron-oxidizing bacteria or from petroleum. To differentiate, trail a stick through the film. It it readily breaks up, it’s most likely bacteria. If it swirls together, it’s most likely petroleum and should be reported.” [Arlington County]

When to Call 911 for a Medical Issue — “The Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) is initiating a public information campaign to help individuals, facilities and communities develop the know-how to ‘Make the Right Call.’ The effort aims to empower the community to help maintain EMS system readiness by learning appropriate utilization of the medical 911 system.” [Arlington County, Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Morning Notes

VHC Land Swap Ready to Move Forward — “Nearly six months after a divided Arlington County Board approved a major expansion of Virginia Hospital Center, board members are set to take the next step.” [InsideNova]

Ballston IHOP Reopens — “Good news IHOP fans: the Ballston location is back open and serving customers. Here’s why it closed.” [Twitter]

DEA Finds Temporary Digs — “The Drug Enforcement Administration has found temporary space in Crystal City for its employees while its… headquarters in adjacent Pentagon City gets a major makeover. Representatives for the DEA recently applied to Arlington County for interior alteration permits to renovate three floors at 2200 Crystal Drive.” [Washington Business Journal]

Road Closures for Ballston 5K Race — “The 2019 Girls on the Run 5K Race will be held in the Ballston-Virginia Square area on Sunday, May 19, 2019. The Arlington County Police Department will implement the following road closures from approximately 8:15 AM to 10:15 AM to accommodate the event.” [Arlington County]

Carlee Defines the ‘Arlington Way’ — “‘In its most positive framing’ [the Arlington Way] means ‘engaging with the public on issues of importance or concern (not always the same) in an effort to reach community consensus or… a shared understanding and an opportunity for everyone to be heard,’ [former County Manager Ron Carlee] writes. ‘In its negative framing’ the phrase has been ‘derided as a way to talk everything to death so that ideas are killed or that people are so worn-down that by the end, they do not care what happens as long as it is just over.'” [Falls Church News-Press]

Photo courtesy @klk_photography11/Instagram

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Virginia Hospital Center has announced a new partnership with local first responders to more effectively handle mass casualty incidents like terrorist attacks or active shooter situations.

Arlington’s new Hospital Response Task Force is “believed to be the first of its kind in the nation,” organizers say. It was formed in response to lessons learned from mass casualty situations elsewhere, during which wounded would flood emergency rooms and overwhelm hospital staff.

“In nearly all cases where events included a large number of victims, significant issues were documented at hospitals nearby the incident,” VHC said in a press release. “Hospitals were overrun with victims who self-transported to the hospital, oftentimes with friends or ride-sharing services. The Hospital Response Task Force model in Arlington aims to provide immediate assistance to hospitals to prevent the surge of self-reporting victims from reducing the hospital’s ability to save lives.”

The new plan would have the fire department, law enforcement officers and hospital staff collaborating in the event of a crisis to help handle the surge of victims.

The plan has been in development since a working group was established last June, and the plan is expected to be integrated into Arlington County’s emergency response operations starting in May.

“While specifics of the plan will not be disseminated to the public for security reasons, paramedics, law enforcement officers and hospital staff will work hand-in-hand to provide rapid treatment and protection for incoming victims,” the press release says.

Photo via Google Maps

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Virginia Hospital Center executives celebrated when they finally earned permission to expand the hospital’s North Arlington campus and execute a long-planned land swap with the county — but one of the consequences of the deal has some employees and parents feeling blindsided.

VHC is gearing up to send Arlington its property at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road in Glencarlyn, in exchange for gaining control over a piece of land at 1800 N. Edison Street. The latter property is adjacent to its existing facilities along N. George Mason Drive, and will be a key part of the hospital’s hotly debated expansion plans.

Of course, that’s going to prompt some big changes at the Carlin Springs Road site as the county takes over. Among them is the impending closure of a childcare center that the hospital operated on the property in tandem with Bright Horizons, serving VHC employees and local parents alike.

The daycare facility is now set to close on July 26, according to letters from both VHC and Bright Horizons provided to ARLnow. Though that deadline may be a full four months away, parents with kids at the daycare say they’re now scrambling to find alternative options.

The county is currently facing a childcare crunch, with local leaders currently weighing strategies to bring down the cost of daycare options in Arlington, and VHC parents say those conditions have only exacerbated the shock they felt about the childcare center’s closing.

“I was feeling reassured that finally Arlington realized that there’s more demand than supply when it comes to childcare, and now this happens,” said one parent, who declined to be identified. “It’s ironic that in Arlington, where there’s supposed to be some attention to how challenging it is to find childcare centers, instead of opening a new place we’re closing one of the big ones down and forcing families and employees to figure things out on their own.”

A spokesperson for the hospital would only confirm that the center is closing sometime this year, saying that “the details of the closing are still being worked out,” but otherwise would not comment on the situation.

Mike Malone, VHC’s vice president for administrative services and chief human resources officer, wrote in a letter to parents that it was his “great disappointment” to have to close the center. He said “the county will be repurposing the land on the Carlin Springs campus and demolishing the building,” prompting the closure — VHC leaders previously told ARLnow that the land swap would be finalized by May or June at the latest.

Malone added that Bright Horizons is “committed to helping every current family find care in another Bright Horizons center or [helping] you transition into another center of your choosing.”

In a letter of their own, Bright Horizons executives pointed to the “over two dozen centers spread across the metro area” that the company operates as options for parents. They also noted that they have “resources available to facilitate your child’s transition,” and said they plan to help staff at the center find jobs at other Bright Horizons locations.

Parents at the center told ARLnow that help is appreciated, but they fear it isn’t enough to manage the transition.

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