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.
(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.
(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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Photo courtesy @klk_photography11/Instagram
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
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.