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The community has kept VHC Health’s primary care office in West Springfield busy since it opened last June.

Officially welcomed by Fairfax County leaders with a ribbon-cutting and open house on Jan. 31, the practice at 5803 Rolling Road, Suite 110, started with one physician but added a second in October to meet the demand for services, according to Darryl Ernst, the senior vice president of VHC Health Physicians.

He says the nonprofit health system anticipates adding two more physicians into 2025, bringing the office up to VHC’s typical primary care staffing levels. With each physician usually seeing up to 2,500 patients annually, the West Springfield practice could ultimately care for as many as 10,000 to 12,000 patients.

“The office itself has gotten busy fairly quickly,” Ernst told FFXnow. “That’s been very encouraging for us because I think it reinforces why we’ve been asked to come and provide care in that community.”

Located in a brick office building south of the Kings Park neighborhood, VHC Health’s West Springfield facility provides primary care services to people 18 and older, including physical exams, wellness visits and other preventative care, lab testing and chronic disease management. Same-day urgent appointments and telehealth visits are available.

The practice may expand in the future to also offer cardiology services, but a definite decision on that hasn’t been made yet, Ernst says.

Decisions about what services to offer where are driven by community need and possible gaps in a given neighborhood’s health care network, according to Ernest, who says a lot of patients who get cardiology services at VHC Health’s hospital in Arlington live or work in the West Springfield area.

“We want to be in communities that don’t have many providers in a certain specialty,” he said. “So, we believe cardiology is the need in that community, and so, that’s one of the reasons we would do it, in essence, because there’s not the kind of access that we think it should exist for cardiology services.”

The West Springfield practice was among several new VHC Health facilities to pop up in Fairfax County over the past couple of years. Rebranding from Virginia Hospital Center, the nonprofit now also has facilities in Annandale, Tysons, McLean, Vienna and Kingstowne.

A digestive health center that focuses exclusively on gastrointestinal issues also opened this past Tuesday (Feb. 13) at 3025 Hamaker Court in Merrifield.

Ernst says VHC Health has been “very intentional” with its expansion into Fairfax County, which was in the works before the COVID-19 pandemic but got temporarily slowed down as medical providers pivoted to virtual services.

In addition to seeking to give its existing patients a more convenient option, the nonprofit has gotten a “tremendous amount” of outreach from elected officials and business leaders requesting facilities in different parts of the county, including West Springfield, according to Ernst.

Though VHC’s offices have been concentrated in the eastern part of the county so far, it’s developing plans to expand to the western side. Ernst says they’re not at a stage yet where he can disclose specific details, but the focus will likely be around Fairfax City and its surrounding areas.

“We think [our facilities are] special, and we just really want them to be a resource for the community and for the residents,” Ernst said.

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Monte Nido, an eating disorder treatment provider, is now open in Tysons (courtesy Monte Nido & Affiliates)

A health provider that specializes in treating eating disorders has expanded into Tysons.

Monte Nido announced yesterday that it has launched a day treatment program for adolescents in Tysons. Located near The Boro at 8180 Greensboro Drive, the center is initially serving youth aged 11 to 17, but it plans to add services for adults “soon,” according to a press release.

“With eating disorders on the rise for both adults and adolescents, expanding access to care has never been more important,” Monte Nido & Affiliates CEO Cassie McLean said. “We’re striving to make treatment more accessible to everyone who needs it, and this new program will connect more individuals in the D.C. area to life-saving care and increase their opportunity to attain full recovery.”

Founded in 1996, Monte Nido & Affiliates now operates over 50 programs that provide treatment for people experiencing eating disorders. In addition to the new Tysons program, the company’s local centers include Clementine Fairfax in Fairfax Station and Clementine Twin Lakes in Clifton, which both offer residential services.

Monte Nido’s day program in Tysons is designed to help clients transition from more intensive, 24/7 care to outpatient therapy, according to the press release. Its approach to treatment for eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, includes individual and group therapy, nutritional education and cognitive processing therapy to address trauma.

“Our program offers personalized treatment approaches tailored to meet the distinct needs of each individual,” Monte Nido & Affiliates Chief Clinical Officer Melissa Spann said. “We believe that equipped with the appropriate tools and support, recovery is achievable at any stage of an individual’s journey with their eating disorder.”

An estimated 28.8 million Americans, or 9% of the population, develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), a nonprofit that operates free peer support services and a helpline at 888-375-7767.

Calls to national hotlines and hospitalizations related to eating disorders reportedly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, fueled by the additional stress and uncertainty. According to ANAD, over 70% of people with eating disorders have other conditions, particularly anxiety and mood disorders.

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week will be recognized this year from Feb. 26 to March 3. The annual campaign aims to educate the community about eating disorders and encourage those affected to seek help.

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Perspire Sauna Studio is expanding to Virginia with three franchises planned in Fairfax County (courtesy Perspire Sauna Studio)

An expanding chain of sauna studios is targeting West Falls Church for its introduction to Virginia.

Local entrepreneurs Michael Sobhi and Michael Baffa will open three Perspire Sauna Studio franchises in Fairfax County under a recently signed agreement with the California-based company, which offers infrared sauna and red-light therapy services.

The first location will be in West Falls Church, though a specific site is still being identified, according to a public relations representative for Perspire. The locations for the other two studios are also being determined.

Sobhi and Baffa, who have a combined 20 years of experience in the real estate and construction industries, hope to eventually expand the company’s presence in the area to 10 spas.

“We’ve always been health-conscious and familiar with the benefits of saunas, though our experiences have been limited to gyms and public facilities, where truly enjoying the experience can be challenging,” Sobhi said in a press release announcing the franchising deal. “The concept of Perspire, with its private and personalized approach to wellness, immediately resonated with us. We saw it as something we would personally use and benefit from if it were available in our area.”

Started by CEO Lee Braun in Costa Mesa, California, in 2010, Perspire Sauna Studio says it utilizes “age-old” sauna heat therapy practices that can help cleanse the body, ease joint and muscle pain, encourage relaxation and assist with weight loss.

The cedar-paneled saunas generate heat with colored lights that warm up the body, rather than the air, according to the company’s website. Available services include red light therapy, which is used in treatments for skin conditions, hair loss and other health needs, and chromotherapy, which can supposedly be used to treat diseases.

Perspire currently has 49 studios, with another 20 in development and 170 signed franchise agreements. Sobhi and Baffa’s franchises will be Perspire’s first locations in Virginia.

“At the crux of our brand is the intent to ignite a passion in our members and our communities for a more relaxing, health-conscious lifestyle,” Braun said in a statement. “That passion starts by introducing the science-backed approach of infrared and red light therapy to new people and new places; something both Michaels are now playing a pivotal role in seeing through.”

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Dripbar officially opened its doors in Reston on Jan. 10 (courtesy The Dripbar)

Another intravenous hydration clinic has opened its doors in Reston.

The Dripbar opened earlier this month on Jan. 10 at 11790 Baron Cameron Ave in Unit D.

The business offers IV vitamin and hydration therapy. Another business with a similar concept is slated to open next month on Reston Station Blvd.

“Through our IV Hydration services, we aim to offer a convenient and effective way for community members to replenish essential nutrients, rehydrate, and revitalize their overall well-being,” Louise Smith, co-owner of the Reston location, said. “Whether it’s recovering from a strenuous workout, combating dehydration, or seeking a wellness boost, our IV’s are designed to cater to diverse needs.”

The Dripbar says its IV drip therapy services provide health benefits, from nutrient boosts to support during cancer treatments. It has 99 locations across the U.S., but the Reston franchise is its first one in Northern Virginia.

The business is closed on Mondays but operates from 10-7 p.m. on other weekdays. It’s also open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 pm and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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Prime IV Hydration & Wellness is coming soon to Reston (via Google Maps)

Reston will soon welcome a wellness company that uses IV treatments for hydration.

Prime IV Hydration & Wellness is slated to open at 11209 Reston Station Blvd near the Faraday Park apartments, according to county permits.

The company says it offers intravenous treatments for feeling, looking and performing better. Offerings target muscle pain, exhaustion, injury recovery, wrinkles, premature aging and seasonal allergies. Prime IV also offers general packages that offer pure hydration, fighting fatigue, and athletic performance.

It’s unclear exactly when the business is expected to open. Prime IV’s website says only that the location is coming soon. The company did not return several requests for comment from FFXnow.

Amy Neary started the company in Colorado Springs in 2008 in order to provide lab testing for all.

“We’re able to help people who otherwise might forego getting a diagnosis and treatment from their physician, simply because they can’t afford their lab tests,” Neary states on the company’s website.

There are multiple locations across the U.S., including others that are coming soon in Merrifeld, McLean and Gaithersburg.

Image via Google Maps

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Inova Health Systems continued an expansion of its urgent care network this week with the reopening of a facility in McLean.

Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care McLean opened to patients at 1340 Old Chain Bridge Road, Suite 101, this past Monday (Jan. 22) after closing last year for renovations. Formerly known as McLean Immediate Care Urgent Care, the center is the 16th one that Inova has added in Northern Virginia since it partnered with the on-demand health care company GoHealth in 2022.

“Inova-GoHealth’s rapid growth is a sign of our commitment to expanding access to affordable, on-demand care for people throughout Northern Virginia,” Inova-GoHealth regional president Harold Brown said. “Having convenient access to connected healthcare is vital for improving the quality of life for everyone in our community.”

Like other locations, the 2,600-square-foot urgent care center in McLean provides medical services to treat “common health concerns for adults and children six months and older, including COVID-19, flu, fever, asthma, allergies, minor cuts, burns, pink eye, urinary tract infections, fractures, sprains, strains and more,” according to a press release.

It’s open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Inova and GoHealth, which operates the facilities, are also preparing to launch a new urgent care center in the Herndon area. The 2,909-square-foot facility is on track to open in late February next to Taco Bamba in the Village Center at Dulles (2415 Centreville Road, Suite B6).

That will bring the two providers up to 17 urgent care centers in Northern Virginia. Seven of the centers were recently relaunched under the new branding, but there are also entirely new locations, including ones that opened in Fairfax City and Lorton last fall.

“With Inova-GoHealth centers across Fairfax County, patients can access convenient, high-quality care closer to where they live, work and play,” Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care Medical Director Dr. Meredith Porter said. “We are excited to expand access to on-demand healthcare for the community and seamlessly connect patients to Inova’s robust network.”

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A pediatric sick clinic is now open at the Inova Cares Clinic for Children near Seven Corners (courtesy Inova)

Inova patients in the Falls Church area can now get medical attention for their sick kids without having to visit an emergency room or make an appointment.

The nonprofit health system launched a pediatric sick clinic this morning (Thursday) out of the Inova Cares Clinic for Children (6400 Arlington Blvd, Suite 50) near Seven Corners. Described as the first service of its kind in Northern Virginia, the sick clinic serves children with common but less severe symptoms of illness, such as fever or coughing.

The clinic offers similar services to an urgent care center, but since it’s in a primary care facility, the setting is more familiar to prospective patients, who are often uninsured or have Medicaid, Inova Senior Vice President of Community Health and Health Equity Karen Berube says.

“A lot of our patients might not have the resources to go to an urgent care kind of setting, and so, this would be an opportunity for them to get the…level of care they need versus having to sit in an a crowded emergency room,” Berube said.

With the staffing and capacity to assist 50 people a day, the pediatric sick clinic was designed to alleviate some of the pressure on Inova’s hospitals, whose emergency departments have been strained this winter by an especially intense wave of respiratory illnesses.

Last night, emergency room wait times ranged from no wait in Reston to nearly an hour at Inova’s Mount Vernon and Leesburg hospitals. Inova revived its face mask requirements on Jan. 4 for emergency departments, emergency care centers and urgent care centers.

Masks will likely be required at the sick clinic as well, Berube says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Virginia is seeing high respiratory illness activity. Based on emergency department data from the week that ended Jan. 6, flu and RSV visits have declined in Fairfax County, while COVID-19 visits are rising, though hospital admission levels remain low.

Demand remains high at Inova, with hospitals reaching capacity “on several days” this season, according to Berube. She says this winter has been comparable to the previous year, when a moderate Covid surge combined with increased flu and RSV cases to create what the CDC has called a “tripledemic.”

“It was so crowded and we couldn’t even see our own kids in the clinic because we were so full with visits,” Berube recalled.

After that experience, Inova came up with the idea of a pediatric sick clinic that could siphon off some of the patients who were visiting the emergency room but didn’t actually need that level of care.

The health care system found support for the proposal from a donor who contributed the funding. The exact amount isn’t being publicized at the donor’s request.

According to Berube, the clinic features two doctors, two medical assistants, a resource nurse and front-desk staff. Only walk-in visitors are accepted, and initially, patients are limited to children who get primary care services from any of seven Inova Cares clinics.

Inova intends to eventually expand the sick clinic to any uninsured individuals, but officials want to get a better understanding of the patient volume first.

“We need to see how big the volume is for this before we can expand it,” Berube said. “So, if we fill it up right away, we won’t expand it necessarily in the near future because we would be full already. So, we just want to be able to understand volumes first and the need.”

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Sign welcomes arriving travelers to Dulles International Airport (file photo)

Health officials are cautioning the public about a possible measles exposure in Northern Virginia.

According to the Virginia Department of Health, someone who traveled through Northern Virginia from abroad was confirmed to have measles.

“Out of an abundance of caution, VDH is informing people who were at various locations, including Dulles International Airport on January 3, 2024, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on January 4, 2024, that they may have been exposed,” the department said in a news release on Saturday (Jan. 13).

The health department will identify people who may have been exposed — including by contacting potentially exposed passengers on specific flights.

The exposure window at Dulles Airport was in the international arrivals area of the main terminal between 4 and 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3, and at National Airport in terminal A between 2:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4.

Measles is a highly contagious illness that is spread through coughing, sneezing and contact with droplets from the noise, mouth and throat of an infected individual.

VDH says anyone who has two doses of a vaccine against measles is protected. Those who have one dose of the vaccine are likely protected, but the department suggests contacting a health care provider to schedule a second dose to ensure full protection.

Anyone who is not vaccinated against measles or has contracted the disease should contact the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2411 or a health care provider.

In the first stage of the illness, people have a fever of more than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day with the appearance of a rash on the face that could spread over the entire body.

Here’s more from VDH on what to do if you may have been impacted by an exposure:

If you have never received a measles containing vaccine (either the measles, mumps and rubella [MMR] vaccine or a measles only vaccine which is available in other countries), you may be at risk of developing measles. Anyone who was exposed and is at risk of developing measles should watch for symptoms until January 25, 2024. If you notice the symptoms of measles, immediately isolate yourself by staying home and away from others. Contact your healthcare provider right away. Call ahead before going to your healthcare provider’s office or the emergency room to notify them that you may have been exposed to measles and ask them to call the health department. This will help protect other patients and staff.

If you have received two doses of a measles containing vaccine, or were born before 1957, you are protected and do not need to take any action.

If you have an immuno-compromising condition, please consult with your healthcare provider if you have questions or develop symptoms.

If you have received only one dose of a measles containing vaccine, you are very likely to be protected and your risk of being infected with measles from any of these exposures is very low. However, to achieve complete immunity, contact your healthcare provider about getting a second vaccine dose.

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A tissue box with a mug (via Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) Colds are in the air this winter, as a new COVID-19 variant has joined forces with the flu and RSV to produce a particularly challenging respiratory illness season.

Covid-related hospitalization levels remain low in Fairfax County, where 145 patients were admitted in the week that ended on Dec. 30 — a 46% increase from the previous week. But hospital visits and deaths are on the rise in Virginia and nationally, with the U.S. death toll exceeding 1.1 million people since the first case in 2020.

As of Tuesday (Jan. 9), 1,758 people have died from Covid in the Fairfax Health District, which includes the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, according to the latest Virginia Department of Health data.

The district has had 23 COVID-19 deaths in the past 13 weeks — an increase from previous months, but overall, 2023 saw fewer deaths each month than previous years, according to the Fairfax County Health Department.

“The average age of the individuals who have passed due to COVID in the past 13 weeks is 80 years old and a third of these were associated with a long-term care or skilled nursing facility,” an FCHD spokesperson said. “Although COVID deaths are down from previous years, it does remain a threat in our communities and particularly for older populations with comorbidities.”

Now the most prevalent variant in the country, JN.1 appears to spread more efficiently than other forms of the coronavirus, but the vaccines updated last fall are still effective, though only 17.4% of residents have gotten those shots, the county health department said in an update yesterday.

According to the FCHD, Northern Virginia is experiencing a “very high intensity level” of influenza-like illnesses, which make up 6.7% of all emergency department and urgent care visits, led by young kids 4 and under. Inova reinstated a face mask requirement on Jan. 4 in response to the prevalence of respiratory illness.

The county health department says RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection) activity is decreasing in the Fairfax Health District, but it’s still elevated elsewhere in the country, especially among young kids and older adults.

“If you are at high risk for severe illness from RSV, you should continue to take steps to protect yourself, especially if you are traveling or hosting a visitor,” the FCHD said.

The department is encouraging residents to get vaccinated against Covid and the flu and to take other steps to prevent spreading illness, including wearing a high-quality mask, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick.

Photo via Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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The Lorton Community Action Center is housed in the Lorton Library (via Google Maps)

The Junior League of Northern Virginia has committed to providing at least 8,000 period products to clients of the Lorton Community Action Center over the next year.

The mission of the Lorton center is to enhance the quality of life for clients by providing food, basic needs, and self-sufficiency programs.

“The Lorton Community Action Center has had a longstanding relationship with the Junior League of Northern Virginia,” said Rob Rutland-Brown, executive director of the center. “We are thrilled that JLNV is stepping into an even more generous role – these donations will ensure that women have access to necessary period products whenever they need them,”

The deepened partnership is part of the Junior League’s new focus: Women Helping Women, a commitment to providing essential services and professional development training opportunities for women and families in the community, according to a news release.

Michelle Freeman, president of the Junior League, noted that statistics show that 20% of women in the Washington area live in poverty.

“Lack of access to period products is often a hidden consequence,” she added. “Our partnership will provide much-needed period products in our local area and really embraces our new focus area.”

Photo via Google Maps. This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner InsideNoVa.com and republished with permission. Sign up for InsideNoVa.com’s free email subscription today.

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