Virginia Hospital Center Expands into Tysons — “The Arlington health system has purchased a building at 1760 Old Meadow Road where it’s setting up an orthopedic outpatient surgery center, according to VHC CEO Jim Cole. The hospital is now renovating a 14,900-square-foot area of existing building in a project expected to cost $6.4 million including construction and equipment…The facility is slated to open in mid-2022.” [Washington Business Journal]
County Releases FY 2023 Budget Forecast — Fairfax County anticipates a 5.7% revenue increase of approximately $279.6 million for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1, 2022. However, the gains will be offset by continued declines in real estate values for office buildings and senior care facilities due to the pandemic. [Fairfax County Government]
County Police Focus on Recruitment and Violent Crimes — “While monitoring disturbing trends such as domestic homicides and increasingly violent vehicle thieves, Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis hopes to hire more officers and implement changes to modernize the police department. The county’s overall crime rate now is down by slightly more than 12%, or about 3,500 fewer victims compared with the previous year.” [Sun Gazette/Inside NoVA]
Town of Vienna Offices Closed Tomorrow — “Town offices and the Community Center will be closed Nov. 25 for Thanksgiving. There will be no trash collection on Nov. 25, crews will pick up along that route the next day. The Community Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 26, while Town offices will be closed.” [Town of Vienna/Twitter]
Visit Fairfax Launches Holiday Gift Guide — “Ali Morris at Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism and hospitality promotion group, created the Fairfax County 2021 Holiday Gift Guide to showcase gift-worthy products created right here and the artisans behind the creations. You can shop by these categories: art and designs; body; chocolate; coffee; food; kids; pets; stocking stuffers; textiles; wine, beer and spirits.” [FCEDA]
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Construction has begun on a new, standalone emergency room in the heart of Tysons, Reston Hospital Center announced today (Wednesday).
The freestanding 14,000 square-foot facility will be located at 8240 Leesburg Pike within walking distance of the Tysons and Greensboro Metro stations. That is approximately six miles north of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church.
The closest healthcare facility in the immediate Tysons area right now is Kaiser Permanente’s Tysons Corner Medical Center (8008 Westpark Dr.), which has an ambulatory surgery center but no emergency room. It provides urgent care but only by referral, according to its website.
“We welcome the expansion of healthcare facilities and providers serving Tysons and its surrounding communities,” Tysons Partnership President and CEO Sol Glasner said in a statement to Tysons Reporter.
Reston Hospital, which is part of the HCA Virginia Health System, says it hopes to open the new emergency department in the first quarter of 2022.
“Upon launch, the 11-treatment room, state-of-the-art ER will be staffed with board-certified emergency room physicians and nurses, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and offer the same services provided in an emergency room that is housed within the walls of a hospital,” the hospital said in a news release.
Reston Hospital announced the emergency room as part of a slate of investments totaling $70 million that are expected to be completed over the next three years.
Located near Reston Town Center at 1850 Town Center Parkway, Reston Hospital Center contains 231 beds and offers a variety of medical and surgical services, including around-the-clock emergency care with a dedicated pediatric emergency room and Level II trauma center, an Institute of Robotic Surgery, and an Inpatient Rehabilitation Center.
According to the news release, the new investments come on the heels of a multi-year expansion of the hospital’s Reston campus that concluded in early 2020. Along with the Tysons emergency room, other initiatives include technology upgrades, an expansion of the Inpatient Rehabilitation Center, and the launch of a neurointerventional suite that provides treatment for stroke patients.
The hospital also introduced an augmented reality system that assists with surgeries in October.
“These service expansions, investments and improvements are critical in helping us to continue delivering on our commitment as a premier specialty hospital, as well as being recognized as the healthcare provider and the employer of choice in the Northern Virginia region,” Reston Hospital Center President and CEO John Deardorff said.
Just a few days before Valentine’s Day, about 650 volunteers in the Tysons area and Fairfax County made medical workers at Inova Hospital their valentine.
The nonprofit organization Volunteer Fairfax distributed about 7,000 handmade pink and red cards yesterday (Tuesday) to Inova nurses outside the Inova Heart and Vascular Institute and throughout the Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church.
“This many cards, from this many people, shows that the community acknowledges what we’re going through,” nurse Sabeena Jamali said.
Volunteer Fairfax has been delivering handmade Valentine’s Day cards for 10 years now, but this year, volunteers crafted 10,000 cards — more than ever before, according to Volunteer Fairfax Communications Director Lorna Clarke.
3,000 cards are earmarked for children who are in or graduating from the foster care system.
Before the novel coronavirus, the organization would take over a fire station during Martin Luther King Jr. weekend — as an homage to his legacy of service — and people would come to make cards in person, Clarke said. This typically yielded 3,000 to 5,000 cards.
She attributed the huge influx of cards this year to a practical reason — volunteers were able to do this from home — as well as a sentimental one, as appreciation has deepened in the community for healthcare workers and the sacrifices they make.
Inova is one of the largest employers in the region, but it is easy to take it for granted when driving past the campus on the way to work, Volunteer Fairfax CEO Stephen Mutty said.
“We wanted to raise awareness and say thank you,” he said, crediting Tysons for its “demographic of caring, socially engaged people.”
For Inova President Steve Narang, Valentine’s Day is a special holiday because it gives people a chance to reflect on what it means to have a connection to another person. The cards establish and reinforce a connection between a hospital worker and someone in the community.
“You could see it in their eyes, the recognition that ‘I’m still being seen,'” Narang said.
Case manager Ruth Mahat said she is going to put her Valentine up in the break room to cheer her up whenever she rushes in to grab something or has to step away because she feels overwhelmed.
“Seeing the card brings your morale up,” Mahat said. “Someone in the community is thinking about you and appreciates what you do.”
Image via Volunteer Fairfax
Clinics and medical facilities are beginning to offer yearly vaccines as flu season approaches.
People who received their annual flu shot in a 2018 study were 82% less likely to be admitted to the ICU for potentially life-threatening symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
Most people six months and older can receive a dose of the flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said, adding that people can either choose the shot or the nasal spray.
The CDC suggests that those eligible should receive their yearly flu vaccine before the end of October.
As fall and winter approach, medical professionals are urging people not to skip their annual flu shot this year, as a spike in the flu could cause unnecessary hospitalizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doctors worry that people forgoing their flu shot this year could have detrimental effects on the healthcare system by potentially overwhelming hospitals, USA Today reported.
People who received their annual flu shot in a 2018 study were 82% less likely to be admitted to the ICU for potentially life-threatening symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on the website.
Since some medical professionals are worried that this upcoming winter could see a spike in COVID-19 cases — as it will be harder for people to gather outdoors while socially distancing — doctors want to keep unnecessary hospitalizations low.
People six months and older can receive a dose of the flu vaccine annually, the CDC said, adding that people can either opt for the shot or the nasal spray.
Lots of clinics and medical offices already are offering flu shots in the Tysons area:
- The Kaiser Permanente Tysons Corner Medical Center (8008 Westpark Drive) offers a drive-through flu vaccination station, according to its website. Beginning today through Nov. 30, people can stop by on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. until 8 p.m. From Sept. 12 until Oct. 24 people can also stop by on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m.
- Some drug stores such as CVS and Walgreens also offer walk-in flu shots. For example, the CVS at 1452 Chain Bridge Road offers slots from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. On Saturdays, they are taking patients from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and again from 1:30 p.m. until around 4:30.
- Around Falls Church, McLean and Vienna, CVS also has several other flu shot locations which can be found online through a proximity tracker.
- While they stop to shop for groceries, people can get their flu shots at pharmacies inside specific Safeway and Giant stores. At Giant (1454 Chain Bridge Road), the pharmacy is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church (IHVI Atrium 3300 Gallows Road) is offering free flu shots for members with an Inova insurance plan from Sept. 5 through Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. each Saturday.
- People can also check with their primary care doctor, as many family practices also offer flu shots.
By leveraging their connections at their companies, Bryce Yetso, the general manager of Clyde’s, and Mike Dramby, Hoar Construction’s senior project manager, said that they have handed out over $3,000-worth of food at two regional hospitals within the last few weeks.
Though Hoar Construction works on a variety of projects, Dramby specializes in hospital construction and expansion for the D.C. area office, so he said he was already somewhat familiar with the needs of hospital workers during this hectic time.
Meanwhile, Clyde’s was forced to furlough workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was able to bring people back to work recently with the new request for meals, according to Yetso.
“Bryce was looking to get his people back to work and we were looking for a way to help front line folks,” Dramby said, adding that it made sense to join the two efforts together.
Hoar Construction managed fundraising efforts and coordination with the hospitals while Clyde’s was responsible for meal preparation and delivery, the men said.
Though Hoar Construction originally offered to front the meal order cost, Dramby said that almost all of his coworkers contributed to the effort.
Dramby told Tysons Reporter that his company has been especially busy during this time, because hospitals are investing money in wing expansions to boost capacity for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Going forward, the two men hope to cater meals to medical staff at two other hospitals in the near future.
Photo courtesy Clyde’s Catering
How’s the Local Hospital Doing? — “Several hospitals in Virginia and Washington, D.C., received top grades for safety, while others didn’t quite measure up, according to new spring 2020 ratings released by the Leapfrog Group recently.” The Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church received an “A” grade. [Patch]
Police Investigating Suspicious W&OD Trail Incidents — “Falls Church Police are seeking information after receiving a report of a man following a woman in a suspicious manner on the W&OD trail this past Monday… Police say they are investigating two other incidents similar to Monday’s, that happened on April 18 at about 1 p.m. and April 21 at about 1 p.m.” [Falls Church News-Press]
MCA Says OK to New Office Building Plan — “McLean Citizens Association (MCA) board members on May 6 unanimously backed a resolution supporting Capital One’s proposal to convert an unbuilt hotel into a new office building.” [Inside NoVa]
Vienna Man Promoted in U.S. Army — “The U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s (USASMCDC) deputy commander for operations – Vienna native David Stewart – was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony at the command’s Peterson Air Force Base headquarters on May 4.” [Inside NoVa]
Earlier this week officers from the McLean District Station held a birthday parade for Max, who just turned 4. He loved seeing the cruisers and was excited to play with his new police coloring book. Happy birthday, Max! 🎉🎂🎈 #FCPD pic.twitter.com/sJL9FyzOuJ
— Fairfax County Police (@FairfaxCountyPD) May 9, 2020
Work at the Vienna Market project at Maple & Pleasant is about to get a little loud. Steel beams for the commercial building will be driven into the ground over the next few weeks. pic.twitter.com/Tfa2LGWhY4
— Town of Vienna, VA (@TownofViennaVA) May 11, 2020
Photo courtesy Tejal Patel
To check-in with local doctors to see how they are faring during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tysons Reporter reached out to Kaiser Permanente, which has locations all over the mid-Atlantic region.
Dennis Truong is the regional telemedicine director and assistant physician in chief in Northern Virginia for Kaiser Permanente, who sees patients at the Tysons Corner Kaiser medical center, according to a KP spokesperson.
Truong told Tysons Reporter in a Q&A about his experience helping patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How are you feeling emotionally during this time?
Each day is a crazy mix of emotions. To keep a balanced mind, I take time every morning to acknowledge each one, from worrying about loved ones and colleagues, near and far, to the stress of getting the necessary work things done in this race against time. But with these emotions also brings appreciation, for what I have and for the opportunity to serve others and transform health care during this pandemic.
Many of us health care workers have trained and prepared most of our lives to serve in a moment like this. So overall, I feel emotionally strong because I’m inspired by those around me and know that doing my part, while they do theirs, will get us through this.
Each day also bring elements of pleasant emotional surprises, from family texting jokes and spontaneous words of encouragement and appreciation, to dentist friends donating masks from their practices, to colleagues willing to pitch in to help when telehealth surges all hours of the day.
This leads to the most important emotion — a glimpse of happiness — as we’re seeing how so many people care about each other’s well-being and are willing to take personal responsibility to help “flatten the curve.”
For many of my health care colleagues around the world, hope and happiness fuels us to keep fighting the fight with a positive attitude against COVID-19.
What is the attitude of patients who come in for things other than COVID-19 concerns?
In three short weeks, we’ve dramatically transformed the care delivery system at Kaiser Permanente in the mid-Atlantic region to meet the needs of our members virtually.
More than 85% of our encounters are now virtual across urgent care, primary care, and specialty care departments. This paradigm shift was possible for three key reasons. First, at Kaiser Permanente we’ve been doing virtual care (aka telehealth) since 2013 so our providers were prepared.
Also, the Kaiser Permanente culture has always been patient-centric and extremely responsive to the needs of our members. The ability to quickly pivot and rapidly scale our telehealth offerings across all services was universal.
Last, we communicated with our members early and often, so they understood the significance of using our telehealth options before they came into a clinic to keep themselves and our communities safe.
Almost all of our patients use our telehealth options of the advice nurse, e-visits, phone visits and video visits to get personalized care and care coordination before coming in to one of our medical centers. We’ve had many patients express gratitude for being able to access care, for COVID and many other medical needs that are still arising, from the comfort of home.
Do you feel that there are enough medical supplies in the Reston, Tysons, McLean and Falls Church area to support the needs of patients and doctors? What are you running low on?
COVID is now spreading quickly through many communities including here in the D.C. area and our equipment and supply needs have increased significantly as a result. Yet, we have leveraged our national network and with the support of our supply teams and our staff, have increased our supply of personal protective equipment. Through diligent conservation efforts and ongoing procurement efforts, we have the appropriate PPE to protect our team today and in the days ahead.
What trends or changes to the medical system have surprised you the most during this pandemic?
Since early March at Kaiser Permanente, we have seen a total delivery system transformation to “virtual first.” This means that our first approach to an appointment is a virtual appointment through video, phone or secure email. We have evolved to providing more than 85% of all encounters virtually. Our priority has been keeping our members safe and educating and notifying them about care choices. It is amazing how many patients and providers are now using our system “virtual first.”
How prepared is the NoVA area compared to the rest of the country for the peak of the pandemic? When do you think the peak will happen?
The latest information indicates that we could see a surge of patients in our region over the next two to three weeks. However, these models are changing and this timing may change too. We are working diligently to make sure that we are ready to care for all our patients whether they come this week, next week or later. We are also set up to continue expanding our virtual care and pharmacy delivery options as the surge occurs.
How will the pandemic affect people who come into the ER with other (non-COVID-19) life-threatening emergencies?
We are using our robust telehealth services to have our physicians safely evaluate and follow members at their homes. If patients show up to our centers, we have created separate areas to triage COVID and non-COVID patients.
For COVID patients, we triage them to a special triage location with skilled emergency medicine physicians dedicated to that work. Therefore, other patients coming to us for urgent care are treated in separate area by a separate group of emergency physicians to assure continued delivery of highest quality care.
How do you feel that this pandemic will affect the rest of your career in healthcare?
The pandemic has already affected my career in extraordinary ways. As a board-certified emergency physician, I trained in Detroit hospital systems that only knew about dealing with emergencies or those that couldn’t afford preventative care. As an active-duty Air Force physician, I learned the importance of structure but lacked the right technology.
When I came to Kaiser Permanente, I learned the importance of proactive and integrated care alongside a provider and patient-friendly electronic medical records. As the director of Virtual Care for Kaiser Permanente, I am part of a team that has spent years preparing our technology and organizational culture to understand the important role virtual care has in safely extending our care delivery reach.
Every pandemic is an opportunity to learn, and when the dust settles on COVID-19, I believe the U.S. health care system and our citizens will have fully embraced telehealth as the leading approach in healthcare.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
In times of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic, many expectant mothers are facing unforeseen challenges — especially when dealing with the lives of newborn babies.
“I just feel the research out there is limited. I’m skeptical,” Nicole Sud, a Falls Church resident who gave birth to twins at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington on Wednesday (April 1), told Tysons Reporter.
Before her delivery date, Sud said she began to self-isolate — only leaving the house for doctor appointments — and had neighborhood friends help deliver groceries and essentials.
“The reaction varies — there are a lot of people who are much more nervous than I am,” Sud said while describing her plan for the next few weeks.
It doesn’t help that guidelines haven’t been solidified yet.
When it comes to breastfeeding and other concerns, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said breast milk usually provides protection against infection and has not been shown to transmit COVID-19 in “limited studies.”
Because of the lack of research, doctors are recommending that expectant mothers be sure to practice self-isolation and be sure to take care of themselves not only physically but mentally as well.
Amy Banulis, a certified doctor out of Falls Church, published an article in the Northern Virginia Magazine, suggesting that mothers boost their mood by calling close family and friends, watching funny movies, exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and meditating.
“While there is currently no evidence that you are more likely than anyone else to be infected with COVID-19, you may be at higher risk of developing a severe case,” Banulis wrote. A similar statement can be found online from the CDC.
For everyday care, OBGYN offices are taking extra preventative measures to help patients respect social distancing measures and ensure the health of their patients. Some are offering online resources and flexible appointment dates for women who are experiencing flu-like symptoms.
Before she delivered, she told Tysons Reporter that her primary care doctor didn’t recommend any additional steps for staying healthy beyond the CDC guidelines.
Lack of Support Systems
Though Sud wasn’t especially nervous about catching COVID-19 and passing it onto her child, she said that she was concerned about lack of support after the pregnancy.
While delivering her baby, the hospital mandated that she only be allowed one person outside of the medical team to accompany her in the delivery room. Though her plan was always to have her husband by her side, she said this was an unexpected measure.
“People in New York, for instance, cannot have a support person, including a spouse,” she said.
In the next few months, though, she said she was nervous for her lack of support at home. Family members who were supposed to fly to Virginia were forced to cancel their flights.
Luckily, the couple found help from an unlikely family friend already living with them. The family sponsored someone from Columbia on a cultural exchange program, who was unable to fly back home in late March because the country closed its international airports. They agreed to help the Sud family with their newborn daughters and stick around for a few more weeks, Sud said.
Inside the Delivery Room
When Sud was first checked into the hospital, she said the doctors gave her a surgical mask and a paper bag to put it in. Though she couldn’t stand to wear it in the room because of the heat, she said she made sure to put it on every-time she left the room.
Surgical gloves that would typically sit by the sink in the doctor’s office had been removed due to theft, Sud said.
While in the hospital, the couple said they were wary of local COVID-19 cases — especially patients that hadn’t been tested. Sud said hospital staff assured them that they had nothing to be worried about since there were no confirmed cases on the floor.
After Sud delivered the twins, Sud said she was disappointed that the hospital nursery was closed due to COVID-19 concerns. The couple chose Virginia Hospital Center partly so that the twins would be taken care of while Sud slept, she said.
Named Gisele Savita and Vivienne Parvati, the girls first weighed roughly five pounds each, Sud said, adding that they were healthy enough, with the exception of a few breathing issues, to be discharged the next day.
The three were allowed to go home early to avoid any extra chance of infection or exposure to the virus, Sud said.
To ensure that the couple’s 2-year-old daughter didn’t catch anything at the hospital and later pass along viruses to the newborns, her pediatrician suggested that the young girl live with Sud’s in-laws for two weeks before returning home.
“Your daughter would probably be fine, but if the twins get sick you would not have a two-year- old daughter that you would also have to take care of,” Sud said a doctor told her.
Upon discharge from the hospital, nurses simply included a COVD-19 packet among other materials typically given to mothers, Sud said.
Overall, Sud said she was thankful for the nurses and doctors who seemed extra attentive in light of everything going on.
Photo courtesy Nicole Sud
In response to everything happening with the COVID-19 pandemic, several local groups decided to raise money to feed medical workers at local facilities.
Though Hearts of Empowerment, the P.U.S.O. Foundation and Mighty Meals all typically serve different purposes in the community, they began a joint GoFundMe campaign to feed health care workers throughout the Tysons area, according to a press release.
Since the campaign’s kick-off on March 24, the organizers have raised $4,250 and counting. So far, more than 85 people have donated to the cause.
Hearts of Empowerment is a non-profit organization that wants to ensure that no charity is forced to close its doors due to a lack of funding, its website said, adding that it will donate $750 of the company’s own funds in addition to what is raised on the GoFundMe page.
The P.U.S.O. Foundation, which stands for Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others, works to empower people in underserved areas of the world, according to its website. The foundation will donate an extra $1,000, on top of what is crowdsourced, according to the GoFundMe campaign.
Mighty Meals — the group that will cater the food — was founded on a platform that everyone should have access to healthy and fulfilling meals, its website said. Mighty Meals will match the total donation amount by 25%, according to the GoFundMe.
“To date, we have delivered over 200 meals and our efforts will continue on a weekly basis as we have made it our goal to feed the staff of a new hospital every week,” a spokesperson for Hearts of Empowerment said.
On top of the funding for meals, Trophy Body Personal Training will be sponsoring free social distancing outdoor workouts for doctors and nurses, according to the GoFundMe.
Photos courtesy Hearts of Empowerment