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Virginia Hospital Center Expansion Proponents Mobilize Ahead of Key Vote

Supporters of the Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion plans are ramping up their advocacy efforts, now that the project’s fate looks murky ahead of a key County Board vote.

The hospital itself has begun sending out mailers backing the expansion, according to ARLnow reader Dave Schutz, urging county residents to contact the Board about the $250 million project. Arlington’s lone comprehensive hospital has hoped for roughly a year now to add a seven-story outpatient facility and a 10-story parking garage next to its existing campus (1701 N. George Mason Drive), arguing that it desperately needs more space to keep pace with the county’s burgeoning population.

Meanwhile, the county’s business community is also redoubling its efforts to push the expansion forward. The Chamber of Commerce penned a new letter to the Board today (Tuesday), imploring officials to ignore the recommendation of the county’s Planning Commission and approve the project “without further delay” this weekend.

“Further deferral of this already-delayed project will impose additional financial and time costs that will redirect resources that VHC would otherwise use to provide health care services to the Arlington community,” Chamber President and CEO Kate Bates wrote.

County planners are indeed urging the Board to hold off on giving the project a green light, over concerns about the height and design of the proposed buildings. VHC is looking to build the facilities on a parcel of county-owned land near the intersection of 19th Street N. and N. Edison Street, and the commission argues the large new buildings would look out of place sitting across the street from small single-family homes.

Though commissioners support the project in principle, they voted unanimously last week to recommend that the Board force the hospital to revise its plans to address those concerns. They argue that the county would be better served by requiring the hospital to go through a “Phased Development Site Plan” process, a long-range exercise that would give planners more say over VHC’s intentions to redevelop its existing campus.

The hospital argued that such a process would be prohibitively difficult and expensive, and Bates alleged in her letter that VHC has already been made to wait too long to move ahead with its expansion plans. The hospital originally hoped to earn the Board’s approval this July, but neighbors successfully convinced the county to hold off on until the end of the summer to allow for more community involvement in the process.

“Each additional delay in the approval of the site plan application puts off the day when VHC will be able to care for its patient load in a full and comfortable facility,” Bates wrote. “Absent a timely expansion of VHC to accommodate its patient-centric mission, the community as a whole will bear these costs.”

The Board will have the final say on the matter at its meeting Saturday (Sept. 22), a vote made all the more consequential for the county because Arlington stands to gain an 11.5-acre site on S. Carlin Springs Road as part of a “land swap” with the hospital if the expansion moves forward.

Though Board members have been loath to tip their hands on the vote, they are pledging to thoughtfully consider the concerns of neighbors and planners about the project.

“Public or private institutions and buildings, whether hospitals or schools, office buildings or community centers, must respect our planning documents, the built environment and the residents of surrounding communities,” said Board member John Vihstadt during a Chamber forum last week. “Height, setbacks, connectivity, building orientation, traffic and parking concerns are critical factors in any development proposal, and they’re concerns I take seriously. I’m looking forward to hearing more from the hospital and community in the coming days.”

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The Right Note: Delaying the Hospital Expansion?

The Right Note is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

The Arlington Planning Commission is recommending that the County Board delay consideration of the Virginia Hospital Center’s planned expansion, due largely to pushback from neighbors.

Arlington’s long history of community involvement is a good one. Taking neighborhood concerns into consideration, particularly when it comes to mitigating traffic volume around the hospital, is not without merit. The Planning Commission, however, wants to send the hospital back to the drawing board largely for aesthetics, asking that they move some of the taller buildings to a different location in the plans to create less of a “wall” between the hospital and the neighboring single family homes.

While the Metro corridor has a natural step down effect from large buildings into residential neighborhoods, the hospital has long been established in the middle of single family homes. And these neighbors moved into the area with the full knowledge that Arlington’s only hospital was there.

Our population continues to grow as the County Board adds more density to our major corridors. In addition to impacts on schools, it means our healthcare needs will grow as well. Allowing the hospital to expand will add 101 beds to that capacity right here in our community and meet the needs for the next decade or so.

The hospital already adds upwards of $50 million a year in community benefit, according to the Chamber of Commerce. The proposed expansion will add not only short-term construction jobs but permanent jobs for doctors, nurses, clinical professionals and many other support staff here in Arlington.

As the County Board knows from its own projects, construction delays add to construction costs.  This is an important factor in favor of quick approval of this project, particularly in the face of healthcare costs that are already growing faster than inflation.

Virginia Hospital Center is an asset to Arlington. It is needed to meet our healthcare needs and it provides good jobs. That is why there is little doubt that the Board intends to ultimately approve this project, and almost just as certainly additional expansion will be needed in the future. With all of this in mind, they should move forward as quickly as they can rather than causing an extensive delay.

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Planning Commission Looks to Pump the Brakes on Virginia Hospital Center Expansion

Arlington’s Planning Commission isn’t ready to lend its seal of approval to a major expansion of the Virginia Hospital Center, urging the county’s lone hospital to re-work its plans for the project.

The commission unanimously voted last night (Tuesday) to urge the County Board to delay its consideration of the project, perhaps providing a major speed bump for an expansion the hospital has claimed is essential for serving the county’s growing population in the coming years.

VHC has hoped for roughly a year now to acquire a parcel of land adjacent to the hospital’s campus at 1701 N. George Mason Drive, and use it to construct a seven-story outpatient facility and a 10-story parking garage. That would enable the hospital to convert some of its existing outpatient space into 101 new hospital beds to better meet local demand, and pave the way for a wholesale redevelopment of the hospital’s campus.

But VHC’s plans have consistently run into opposition over the last few months, with neighbors worried that the new buildings will tower over residential neighborhoods in the area and transit advocates fretting that the large new garage will spur hospital employees to choose driving over more environmentally friendly transportation options.

The hospital addressed the latter concern by slightly shrinking the size of the garage from 2,093 spaces down to about 1,800, but the neighbors’ concerns about density proved persuasive to the Planning Commission. While they can only recommend that the County Board push back its planned Sept. 22 vote on the project, with the final decision resting with the Board itself, the commission forcefully outlined a series of changes they hope to see to the expansion effort before it becomes a reality.

“We all know it’s necessary, but we want to be respectful to the neighbors to north of the property as well as to the south,” said Commission Vice Chair James Schroll.

Specifically, the commission wants to see the hospital move some of the largest buildings toward the center of the land it hopes to acquire, which is bounded by 19th Street N. and N. Edison Street. Commissioners were perturbed that the current plans place some of the tallest structures just across the street from single family homes — Commission Chair Jane Siegel compared the new design to a “wall” between the hospital and the nearby neighborhoods.

“You’re not transitioning to other large buildings, you’re transitioning to single family neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Nancy Iacomini.

Nan Walsh, an attorney representing VHC, argued that the hospital was doing all it could to provide the necessary setbacks and vegetation to help the new structures blend into the neighborhood. However, she stressed that the hospital is fundamentally constrained by the fact it will someday seek to fully redevelop its existing campus and is looking to build on “every single inch of land” it owns in the area.

“We have 10 very, very old buildings there, but we can’t take them down until we construct these new buildings to replace them,” Walsh said. “This is it for us.”

Walsh doesn’t expect any redevelopment of the existing hospital campus to take place over the next 10 years, but she repeatedly stressed that VHC will eventually need to make such an overhaul happen.

Accordingly, commissioners frequently wondered why they couldn’t pursue a more holistic “phased development site plan” process, similar to the one developers are currently pursuing for the PenPlace project in Pentagon City. Such a planning process would give the county a chance to study each phase of the hospital’s development as it proceeds, and it’s one commissioners urged VHC to consider going forward.

“The hospital is an amazing resource to the community and we want it to be the best it possibly can, and the way to do that’s through a PDSP,” said Commissioner James Lantelme. “That will help it fit into its community as best as it possibly can.”

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Letter to the Editor: VHC Expansion Too Important to be ‘Held Hostage’ By Neighbors

After many long months of debate, county officials are set to have their say next month on an extensive proposal for the Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion.

The project has attracted plenty of criticism from neighbors and transit advocates alike, prompting a brief delay of the county’s consideration of the 101-bed expansion of Arlington’s lone hospital.

But the county’s business community recently threw its support behind a swift approval of the project, as has another longtime civic leader. Julian Fore, a former president of the Arlington Community Foundation, is also urging the County Board to lend the project a full approval in a letter he shared with ARLnow.

Letter to the Editor:

I am an Arlingtonian and frequent user of Virginia Hospital Center (VHC).  This first-rate hospital provides excellent acute care and places an emphasis on needed follow-up services and disease management. VHC is a community jewel and is deserving of our support for its expansion project. I urge the County Board to approve the VHC application.

We should all be in favor of VHC’s desire to improve the efficiency, convenience and accessibility of healthcare. These are important community benefits and should be acknowledged. Moreover, the newly proposed Behavioral Health Center will enable our friends and neighbors who are suffering from mental illness to receive immediate outpatient care. The VHC proposal also expands the number of psychiatric beds based on a community-negotiated formula and subject to State approval.

It is important to note that under the VHC proposal, 1.3 acres of the 5.5 acre Edison Street site are either landscaped or open space to bring visual relief and more greenery to the site.  The placement of the landscaping and open space creates a “sense of place” and a welcome oasis to an urban village. This action demonstrates VHC’s commitment to enhancing the appearance and livability of the surrounding neighborhood.

At this point, we need to acknowledge that the cumulative effect of additional requested changes to the VHC proposal will affect the broader community goal of increasing the availability of low-cost, high-quality, patient-centered healthcare. VHC is the only stand-alone community hospital in the greater Washington D.C. Metro area. It is in the public’s interest to enable VHC to contain development costs, so the Hospital has more dollars available for needed state-of-the-art equipment and other patient related services.

I hope the County Board recognizes that the overall public benefits provided by the VHC expansion are too important to be held hostage by the narrow concerns of nearby neighbors.

Sincerely,

Julian Fore

ARLnow occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor for consideration, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

Photo via HDR

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Virginia Hospital Center Earns $70,000 Grant to Support Pregnant Women

The Virginia Hospital Center’s Outpatient Clinic has an additional $70,354 to support uninsured and low-income pregnant women in the area, thanks to a recent grant from the Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation.

The bulk of the grant money — $64,354 — will support the second year of a telemedicine pilot program, which facilitates virtual appointments for patients with high-risk pregnancies who are unable to schedule some appointments in-person due to work, child care commitments or transportation barriers.

Another $5,000 will go to “transportation cards” for pregnant women who are low-income. The remaining $1,000 will go to purchasing “pack-and-plays,” which provide a safe place for newborns to sleep, for families in need.

The Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation was founded in memory of Jennifer Lawson, a mother of three who died in a 2014 accident. Registration is now open for the fourth annual Jennifer Bush-Lawson 5K & Family Fun Day, scheduled for Nov. 17. The event will raise additional funds for the Virginia Hospital Center’s Outpatient Clinic.

Photo courtesy Jennifer Bush-Lawson Foundation

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Chamber Urges Swift Approval for Virginia Hospital Center Expansion

Arlington’s business community is urging county leaders to approve the Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion plans, arguing the project’s delays have already cost the company dearly.

The county’s lone hospital rolled out plans last fall to add a seven-story outpatient facility and a 10-story parking garage next to its existing campus at 1701 N. George Mason Drive. The County Board approved a land swap last summer to make the expansion possible, trading a parcel of land near the hospital on N. Edison Street for a property along S. Carlin Springs Road, and VHC has spent the ensuing months hammering out designs for the new buildings.

Yet some of the hospital’s plans have drawn ire from neighbors and transit advocates alike, convincing the Board to push back any consideration of the expansion until the fall.

In a letter to the Board on July 23, Arlington Chamber of Commerce President Kate Bates called that decision “very disappointing,” and urged county leaders to lend the project an “expeditious approval.”

“The hospital is doing everything it can to accommodate the requests of neighbors and to honor good planning principles,” Bates wrote. “At this point, however, the cumulative effect of additional changes needs to be evaluated within the broader context of providing convenient, high-quality, patient-centered healthcare in a fiscally prudent way for the next 50 years.”

Bates argued in the letter that the hospital desperately needs the expansion to cope with Arlington’s growing population — VHC expects it’ll need an additional 85 hospital beds over the next five years to handle the county’s growth, and could use another 130 beds over the next 15 years. The hospital currently plans to convert around 120,000 square feet of existing outpatient space to 101 new beds once it can complete the proposed expansion.

Bates adds that “patients and visitors are frequently frustrated and unnecessarily delayed by current parking constraints” at the hospital, making the roughly 1,800 parking spaces in the new garage a key element of the plan as well. However, the garage has attracted some of the fiercest opposition of any element of the project, with neighbors worried about its size and staff and activists worried that it overly encourages driving at the expense of biking or transit options.

Yet Bates points out that VHC has already agreed to shrink the garage by about 200 spaces from its original proposal, bringing down its height to about 67 feet in all.

Furthermore, she wrote that the hospital has worked with the community to add more buffers and greenery to both 19th Street N. and N. Edison Street, demonstrating “a commitment to enhance the appearance and livability of the surrounding neighborhood.”

According to a VHC presentation at a May community meeting, the hospital is planning 27,000 square feet of buffers around the hospital’s perimeter, in addition to lots of green space on the property itself. In all, the hospital hopes to build a  11,000-square-foot entry plaza with a similarly sized “welcome garden” nearby, and a 9,000-square-foot courtyard complete with a “sunken garden” of tiered planters.

The hospital will also sketch out a “master plan” for the site to give the community a roadmap for its designs on future expansion efforts, including a push to someday buy more land for the redevelopment of its older buildings and the construction of a new “central power plant.”

In all, the Chamber sees this work as plenty of evidence that the Board shouldn’t press for any additional changes from the hospital and let the expansion move ahead quickly.

“Since the initial VHC project application, the hospital has made more than 100 modifications to the design in an effort to address issues raised by county staff and community stakeholders,” Bates wrote. “The Chamber respectfully requests that the Board prioritizes this effort and approves the VHC site plan application so this important project can move forward.”

Both the Planning Commission and the County Board are set to hold public hearings on the project in September.

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Morning Notes

Ballston Mall Garage Floods — “The heavy rain that roared through our region Tuesday evening did more than just saturate the ground. A parking garage near the Ballston Mall in Arlington County was transformed into a figurative beach complete with waves.” [WJLA]

Officials Reconsidering No-Left-Turn Sign on Route 50 — The late Carrie Johnson’s last act of civic activism may be bearing fruit. County officials are reaching out to the community in an effort to reconsider a no-left-turn sign on Route 50 at N. Irving Street. [InsideNova]

Proclamation for Gun Violence Awareness Day — At its meeting last night, the Arlington County Board presented the group Moms Demand Action with a proclamation declaring June 1, 2018 to be National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Arlington. [Twitter]

VHC Planning Too Rushed, Critics Say — “Plans to have the Arlington Planning Commission and County Board pass judgment on Virginia Hospital Center’s expansion plans in early July have run into community opposition, with critics saying any action then would be premature and would interfere with vacation plans of those who hope to influence the outcome.” [InsideNova]

Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler

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Morning Notes

Bike and Walk to School Day — Today was Bike and Walk to School Day for Arlington Public Schools. The yearly event encourages families to use their feet — rather than cars — to get to school, at least for a day. [Twitter, Twitter, Twitter]

Hospital Expansion Meets Some Resistance — Some neighbors are at odds with Virginia Hospital Center over its plan to expand its campus. Complaints include objections to “height and mass in close proximity to single-family homes” and the large number of proposed parking spaces. [Greater Greater Washington]

Machinery Topples Over, Blocking Road — A piece of heavy machinery toppled over on Little Falls Road at N. Sycamore Street in the Williamsburg neighborhood yesterday. The cleanup temporarily blocked Little Falls Road. [Twitter]

Fourth High School Could Cost >$250 Million — “Redeveloping portions of the Arlington Career Center campus near Columbia Pike to accommodate a fourth general high school in Arlington could end up costing a quarter-billion dollars or more depending on amenities, according to preliminary cost estimates being fleshed out by school officials.” [InsideNova]

Another Farmers Market Opens — Arlington County is now home to ten farmers markets, with another on the way. The Arlington Mill farmers market opened over the weekend and hosted a Latin jazz band and Arlington’s Art Truck, in addition to numerous food vendors. [Arlington County]

More on Controversial Favola Auction Item — “Brian White of Winchester was the winning Democratic bidder. He said in an interview Monday that he thought the offer blurred the line of appropriateness, but had an idea: ‘I was looking at how much it was and I was like, Dominion [Energy] pays a whole lot more for this type of access.’ He said he plans to offer the day in Richmond to Theresa ‘Red’ Terry, the Roanoke County woman who spent 34 days living in a tree stand to protest incursion of a natural gas pipeline through her land.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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Man Arrested for Sexual Battery in Medical Office

A man inside a medical office grabbed a woman from behind, “began to thrust against her” and refused to stop, according to an Arlington County Police Department crime report.

The incident happened Sunday morning at a “care center” on the 1700 block of N. George Mason Drive, police said. That is the same block as Virginia Hospital Center and a number of medical offices.

Security guards responded an detained the suspect until police arrived. A 26-year-old man was arrested and charged with sexual battery.

More from ACPD:

SEXUAL BATTERY, 2018-05060092, 1700 block of N. George Mason Drive. At approximately 9:57 a.m. on May 6, police were dispatched to the report of an assault that had just occurred. Upon arrival, it was determined that while inside a care center, the male suspect approached the female victim from behind, grabbed her waist and began to thrust against her. The victim demanded the suspect to stop and when he refused, she dropped to the floor. Security then arrived on scene and detained the suspect until police arrived. Tebebe Tessema Makonnen, 26, of No Fixed Address was arrested and charged with Sexual Battery. He was held on no bond.

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Morning Notes

Hotel Planned for Pike Development — Attendees at yesterday’s Columbia Pike Progress Luncheon learned that Orr Partners — which is redeveloping the Food Star grocery store and adjacent sites at Columbia Pike and S. George Mason Drive — has partnered with WhyHotel for the mixed-use project. WhyHotel touts itself as an operator of “pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings.” [Twitter]

County Launches LGBTQ Resource Website — Arlington County has partnered with the Human Rights Commission to develop a website with local, state and national resources for the LGBTQ community. The resources cover a range of topics including housing, domestic violence, sexual assault, health and youth needs. [Arlington County]

Mitten Departing for Illinois — Arlington Deputy County Manager Carol Mitten has accepted the job of City Administrator for Urbana, Ill. “I look forward to advancing common goals for a safe, healthy, sustainable city through thoughtful growth,” she said in a statement. [Smile Politely]

Location Named for Dominion Pint — The owners of Dominion Pint, the new restaurant from the team behind the District’s Meridian Pint and Brookland Pint, have signed a lease for their Northern Virginia establishment. The restaurant is scheduled to open in December at 6035 Wilson Blvd. in Dominion Hills. [PoPville]

VHC Employee Earns ‘4 Under 40’ Award — Virginia Hospital Center’s Taryn Overman, MSN, RN, CEN, has received this year’s “4 Under 40” Emerging Leader Award from the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Overman is recognized for going beyond her management responsibilities to help her community, such as during a collaboration with A-Span in which two tons of cereal was collected, and in directing a program that helped train community members in hands-only CPR.

Man Struck, Killed by Blue Line Train — A man was struck and killed by a train at the Arlington Cemetery Metro station last night. Video appears to show that the man was intentionally on the tracks at the time he was struck, according to Metro. [Washington Post, WUSA 9]

Flickr pool photo by Jennifer Presser

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Morning Notes

Community Concerns Over Hospital Land SwapUpdated at 1:50 p.m. — Virginia Hospital Centers needs to expand to keep up with patient demand but the planned expansion is in a holding pattern as resident concerns are addressed. “Tracy Greiner, chair of a task force of three nearby civic associations, said the hospital has ‘failed to effectively address three years of homeowner feedback.’ Neighbors — some who’ve been in Halls Hill for three generations, others who just bought in — worry about traffic, nighttime lights and construction.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Beyer Wants Answers from FBI — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) is requesting a meeting with the director of the FBI to discuss the investigation into the fatal shooting of Bijan Ghaisar by U.S. Park Police along the GW Parkway, to ensure that it proceeds expeditiously. Of note: “Beyer said that Arlington County, where the 911 calls came in, will not release the 911 tapes because the FBI hasn’t given them permission because it’s an ongoing investigation.” [WTOP]

Wilcox to Headline Arlington Gala — “Arlington’s own Amy Wilcox, a recording artist and star of A&E Network’s ‘Crazy Hearts: Nashville,’ will be the featured performer at the Arlington Community Foundation’s annual gala – ‘This Is Us’ – to be held April 21. The evening event will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City, with funds raised being used to support the philanthropic initiatives of the foundation.” [InsideNova]

Candy Dispute Prompts Call to Police — According to scanner traffic, police responded yesterday evening to a domestic incident in which “a father is not allowing his kid to have candy and they’re all fighting.” [Twitter]

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Opioid Treatment in Arlington Rose 245% Between 2015-2017

The number of Arlingtonians seeking treatment for opioid addiction and related disorders rose from 100 patients in 2015 to 345 patients in 2017, an overall increase of 245 percent, according to Arlington County.

The uptick, detailed in the Arlington County 2017 Annual Report released in January, has spurred the county to implement new treatment approaches for identified opioid-related disorders and addictions.

The police department, unsure of what the best opioid treatment options were to combat the increasing arrests or overdoses, contacted Suzanne Somerville, the county’s residential and specialized clinical services bureau chief.

“We weren’t working together as a county,” said Somerville. She added that departments also weren’t previously coordinating with Virginia Hospital Center but that there is now a monthly meeting with emergency room personnel to discuss frequent treatment or med-seeking patients.

A stakeholders task force was created in January 2017 among multiple county government representatives, non-profit treatment providers and affected families, to develop a plan to address the rising figures, according to Somerville.

In hard numbers, 345 patients in a county of approximately 239,000 isn’t an epidemic. But the 245 percent increase concerns officials — and the figures, Somerville said, may be higher.

“I suspect we always had a much higher number than are seeking treatment here,” said Somerville, later noting that previous data for opioid abusers only counted those seeking treatment through the Dept. of Human Services, not the number of relevant police interactions or even the number of those who are not seeking treatment and haven’t been arrested.

The county finds itself on the doorstep of three communities much more heavily impacted by the nationwide opioid epidemic, according to Somerville: the District of Columbia, West Virginia and more southern areas of Virginia.

“That’s the interesting thing with the opioid crisis, it’s widespread. There’s no socioeconomic division, there’s no race division. It depends on how they start,”she added.

Many opioid abusers initially are prescribed painkillers for medical problems, then later become addicted and switch to a cheaper habit like heroin. In Arlington, it costs approximately $25 for .25 grams of heroin. Oxycontin pills are about $1 per mg; Percocet, $.50 per mg; and Fentanyl, $6.50 per mg.

Arlington officials prefer two methods — a medication assisted treatment (MAT) and an office-based opioid treatment program (OBOT) — over incarceration. The OBOT program combines treatment with naloxone, which is sold under brand names like Narcan and Evzio, with group therapy and peer recovery services.

These peer recovery services take the form of residential intensive treatment homes where patients undergo detox for a minimum of two weeks, but typically up to three months. One Arlington treatment house has the capacity to take 14 patients for up to six months. During this time, patients learn independent living skills and have their sobriety monitored.

One treatment center is in Ballston and another is elsewhere in northern Arlington, though Somerville declined to be more specific, saying that both locations are inconspicuous.

The treatment centers are completely voluntary, but only two patients chose jail over drug court in 2017. Those who opt for jail face at least two years in prison, with terms varying depending on criminal history and individual circumstances. Drug court comprises of supervisory components like GPS anklet monitoring.

“There are some cases where that is not going to work out,” added the bureau chief. “If the police feel that a person has distribution, there probably wouldn’t be something we could do to divert, but we are looking to come up with options at the time of bond or sentencing to say that this person would benefit from treatment as opposed to straight incarceration.”

Photo via Eric Norris/Flickr

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Fire Department to Hold CPR Training Event on Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, the Arlington County Fire Department will conduct a free mass CPR training event at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

The “Hands2Hearts” event is intended to save lives. If hands-only CPR can be performed immediately on a cardiac arrest victim, the victim is 2-3 times more likely to survive.

“You will gain confidence in providing life-saving techniques in just a couple of minutes,” said an Arlington County press release.

The training session will be held from 1-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14 on all four levels of the mall surrounding the center food court. The event is being conducted in partnership with the Virginia Hospital Center and supported by the American Heart Association.

“There will be opportunity to interact with Arlington County firefighters, paramedics, and Virginia Hospital Center’s healthcare team while they teach hands-only CPR,” noted the press release.

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Morning Notes

Former Clarendon Walgreens Building Purchased — JPMorgan Chase has bought the building that housed the former Walgreens in Clarendon for $25 million, perhaps for a new bank branch. [Washington Business Journal]

Local Man Shot and Killed in Philly — An Arlington man who “appeared to be intentionally trying to run down people” with his car was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer in South Philadelphia. The shooting is under investigation. [WPVI]

More Details on Arlington Vehicle Decals — “The 2017-18 Arlington car-tax decal may come with a new feature: personalization. The county treasurer’s office is working on a plan that would add each vehicle’s year, make and model onto the new decals, which will start being distributed over the summer.” [InsideNova]

ACPD Launches Super Bowl Sobriety Campaign — “The Arlington County Police Department and law enforcement agencies across the country are huddling up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a special Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk reminder to urge football fans across the nation not to drop the ball on this issue.” [Arlington County]

VHC Named Top Hospital for Nurses — Virginia Hospital Center is the top hospital for nurses in Virginia, according to new rankings from a nursing website. [Nurse.org]

Signs Up for Nestle in Rosslyn — A Nestle sign is now up on the company’s new headquarters at 1812 N. Moore Street in Rosslyn. [Twitter]

State Senate OKs Arlington Hotel Tax Bill — The Virginia state Senate has passed a bill to authorize Arlington to impose a 0.25 percent hotel tax surcharge, to fund tourism promotion. The county’s current authority to collect the surcharge expires July 1. [InsideNova]

Robert Parry Obituary — “Robert Parry, an investigative journalist who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1985 for his Associated Press exclusives about the CIA’s production of an assassination manual for Nicaraguan rebels, died Jan. 27 in Arlington, Va. He was 68.” [Washington Post, Consortiumnews]

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Virginia Hospital Center Expansion Plans Arrive for Public Scrutiny

A proposal to add a major expansion to Virginia Hospital Center has been opened up for public discussion ahead of a possible approval in the near future.

A walk-through of the site by the county’s Site Plan Review Committee had been planned for January 6 but has been postponed, with a new date yet to be confirmed.

SPRC held its first meeting on the project on December 18, 2017. It will review the plans and then make a recommendation to the Planning Commission, and also provide a first forum for public comment.

VHC is proposing a more-than 230,000-square-foot, seven-story outpatient pavilion for walk-in patients.

The plans would also convert around 120,000 square feet of existing outpatient space to 101 hospital beds and build a 10-story parking garage with just over 2,000 spaces.

The extension to its campus would replace the county-owned Edison Center on the 1800 block of N. Edison Street, to the north of VHC’s main site. The Edison Center is currently home to some county offices and an Arlington County Refugee Services location.

The County Board voted in July that it wants to acquire the hospital’s property at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road and use the site on N. Edison Street as part of the purchase price.

The county hosted a kick-off meeting for the project on November 16, 2017. According to a meeting summary posted online, feedback was generally positive, with questions raised about traffic and parking issues but also noting the project’s importance.

“This isn’t just some ordinary expansion,” one commenter wrote on a feedback card. “This is a vital resource to this County. No one wants something in their backyard. The renderings are beautiful and definitely better than what exists on Edison Street.

Images by HDR.

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