Construction on a new hospital next to Inova’s existing Franconia-Springfield HealthPlex is expected to begin late next year after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the rezoning plan at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday).
The board voted unanimously to bring 985,000 square feet of medical space to the 21-acre campus on the intersection of Beulah Street and the Franconia-Springfield Parkway. Two representatives recused themselves from the vote due to their tie’s with Inova.
Tim Sampson, Inova’s land use attorney and representative, said that the project represents an “opportunity to fill a space in the geographic area without those facilities today.”
The first phase of the project will include a hospital with a maximum of 144 beds spread across two patient towers and an outpatient center. The current HealthPlex will be incorporated through a new road network and walkway connections.
Eventually, the emergency room will be expanded and relocated into the hospital. The former ER space will be filled with other medical uses.
Phase two may include a third patient tower with up to 72 beds and a second outpatient center. The plan also includes nearly 1,500 parking spaces and a helipad, although Inova officials only expect a few landings.
Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said he was particularly impressed by the project’s aesthetics and Class A office space.
“The finishes and the design features of the campus are slated to be extraordinarily attractive,” Lusk said, adding that the project will likely bring 1,200 net new jobs to the district.
Inova’s expansion includes planned road improvements along Franconia-Springfield Parkway, Jasper Lane, Walker Lane, Beulah Street and a new internal roadways.
The county’s planning commission unanimously voted to approve the project earlier this year.
“I think it is something that Inova and the county will be proud of for generations to come,” Sampson said.
Updated at 9:45 a.m. on 8/16/2022 — Hektor Fernando Alvarez’s employment at Virginia Hospital Center was terminated on Friday (Aug. 12), the hospital says.
Earlier: A man from Falls Church has been arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a patient under his care when he worked at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital (3600 Joseph Siewick Drive), the Fairfax County Police Department announced today (Friday).
The victim — a patient who was receiving long-term care at the hospital — told a hospital technician on July 7 that his previous caretaker had “fondled the victim’s genitalia on two separate occasions,” police said.
Detectives from FCPD’s Major Crimes Bureau began an investigation on July 8. They identified the caretaker as 21-year-old Falls Church resident Hektor Fernando Alvarez, who was working for a company called Metropolitan Healthcare Services (MHS) that Inova had contracted “to provide sitter services for patients,” according to police.
The FCPD says Alvarez is no longer employed by MHS, but he was working as a medical technician at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. There have been no incidents reported at that hospital, according to the department.
Alvarez was arrested after a month-long investigation on Aug. 9 and has been charged with aggravated sexual battery with a victim through mental incapacity or helplessness.
“He was held on no bond but later released on a secured bond,” the police department said, which means the money was primarily covered by a bond company.
Prosecutors had argued for Alvarez to be denied a bond, but the judge rejected their recommendation, FFXnow was told.
Online case information indicates that Alvarez was arraigned at the Fairfax County General District Court on Wednesday (Aug. 10) and had a bond hearing yesterday (Thursday). A court employee told FFXnow that the bond was served this morning.
Inova Health System says it has been working with the victim’s family and MHS to respond to the assault allegation.
“Inova has been in contact with the patient, their family, and the contracted staffing agency in regard to this troubling alleged incident,” a spokesperson for the nonprofit said in a statement. “Safety is central to everything we do at Inova, and we expect all who work or provide services in our care sites to meet that high standard.”
The FCPD says anyone with additional information about the case can contact its detectives at 703-246-7800, option 3. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through Crime Solvers by phone (1-866-411-TIPS), and online.
“Anonymous tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100 to $1,000 dollars,” the FCPD said. “Please leave contact information if you wish for a detective to follow up with you.”
A preliminary hearing for Alvarez has been set for 2 p.m. on Sept. 28.
Photo via Google Maps
(Updated at 3:55 p.m. on 8/4/2022) A developer that specializes in “live/work lofts” has set its sights on a pair of Merrifield office buildings being vacated by Inova Health System.
The buildings at 8110 Gatehouse Road and 2990 Telestar Road will be renovated and repurposed, respectively, as live-work units and workforce housing under a rezoning proposal that Fairfax County received from Madison Highland Live Work Loft Services LLC on July 25.
Madison Highland consists of the developers Madison Marquette and Highland Square Holdings. Formed in April to build more live-work communities in the U.S., it is also behind a live-work development proposed for the Skyline Center in Bailey’s Crossroads.
Inova had been using the Gatehouse and Telestar buildings as its corporate headquarters for the past 12 years, but the nonprofit is consolidating those operations on its main campus to the south, according to a July 22 statement of justification.
“This creates a unique opportunity to repurpose the newly vacant buildings…while furthering a number of important County policies,” McGuireWoods attorney Mike Van Atta wrote, citing the county’s goals to expand the availability of workforce housing and park space.
Inova confirmed that its Gatehouse and Telestar offices will be relocated to the Inova Center for Personalized Health (8100 Innovation Park Drive) this fall.
Fairfax County introduced live-work development as a new residential use with the revised zoning code adopted in 2021, defining it as:
A structure or part of a structure with areas specifically designed for occupancy by a single owner, tenant, or user to accommodate a residential dwelling unit and a flexible work space. This use does not include a home-based business that would be permitted in a single-family detached dwelling.
In its application, Madison Highland proposes turning the Gatehouse building into 210 live-work units that could range in size from 600 to 1,300 square feet. The individual units could be used as housing, offices, joint residential/office space “or any combination of those uses.”
The Telestar building, which was built in 1969, is being planned for up to 82 workforce dwelling units that will have one or two bedrooms. All units will be reserved for residents who earn 60% of the area median income or below.
Both buildings will be fully renovated, but their core structures “will be preserved to the extent possible,” the statement of justification says. The heights — six stories for the Gatehouse building and four for the Telestar building — will remain the same. Read More
Inova Health System’s proposal to build a new hospital in Franconia is moving forward with the blessing of the Fairfax County Planning Commission.
At a meeting last Wednesday (July 27), the commission voted unanimously in favor of Inova’s plan to build a medical campus northwest of the intersection of Franconia-Springfield Parkway and Beulah Street. The existing HealthPlex at 6355 Walker Lane would remain on the site.
If approved, the campus would be built out in two phases, with the first phase including a 144-bed, roughly 407,000-square-foot hospital, a utility plant, a 134,100-square-foot outpatient center, and the existing HealthPlex.
But a request that Inova consider moving its overhead facilities in a reservation area to allow a future interchange drew contention from the applicant during a July 20 public hearing.
The applicant’s representative Timothy Sampson said it was unfair for state and local transportation officials to ask Inova to relocate its utilities to make way for a future interchange that the Virginia Department of Transportation has planned in the area — a project that is contemplated in the long-term.
“My point is that it’s not fair at all to say that what Inova is doing is costing the public right,” Sampson said. “What Inova is doing is saving the public by giving the right-of-way. “
Fairfax County Department of Transportation staff member Marc Dreyfuss said that if Inova does not commit to relocating the proposed facilities, the public would bear the burden of removing utilities in the area.
“It would be on the public to relocate them in the future,” said Dreyfuss.
Dreyfuss told the planning commission last week that Inova has agreed to locate its utilities within 21 feet of the right-of-way line for the interchange project.
“This will allow the utilities to be placed in a location that will be under the future shared-use path and landscape buffer, but not under the roadway, which would be acceptable for VDOT in the future,” he said. “So, we believe that this resolves the challenge that we worked through last week, and we no longer have any transportation issue with the application.”
The second phase of the project would expand the hospital by 72 beds and the outpatient center by 82,600 square feet. Inova is formally seeking the county’s permission to rezone the property from industrial uses to a planned development community.
The planning commission approved a comprehensive plan amendment to allow for the expansion on June 8.
The main hospital would include an emergency department, an imaging department, below-grade parking, and a helipad to serve the emergency department.
The emergency center would not include a level one or level two trauma center, which means that the proposed helipad won’t see many emergency trips.
“The proposed helicopter operations at the application property would have extremely limited impact on the surrounding area,” Sampson said.
Overall, 2,202 parking spaces will service the campus.
The nonprofit health care provider spent more than $40 million in 2020 to acquire property in a residential area near the Inova HealthPlex, turning the site into a 21-acre campus in lieu of the Liberty View mixed-use development that had previously been approved.
There is still other development in store for the Franconia-Springfield Metro area, including a new townhouse complex on Beulah Street and a new Franconia Government Center. To the north, the existing government center could be replaced by affordable housing.
“The expansion is expected to meet the needs of a growing population, which is expected to grow by more than 50,000 people by 2030,” Sampson said.
The former Inova Cameron Glen Care Center, a 150-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility in Reston, will soon be no more.
Inova plans to demolish the building — which has sat unused since 2014 — beginning next week. The process will start off with tree removal.
Nursing homes beds were relocated to Oakton and Leesburg after the Fairfax County Fire Marshal deemed the building unfit for occupancy in 2021.
In a statement, Inova noted that the demolition of the nursing home sets in motion the vision for redeveloping Reston Town Center North, a 47-acre area in the heart of Reston’s urban core. The nearly 3-acre area will remain dedicated as an open central green.
“This rare opportunity to return developed land to open space is a unique and valuable component of the larger community redevelopment plan,” Inova wrote in the statement.
Inova is working with community partners, law enforcement and Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn to ensure the community is aware about the planned demolition and secure the safety of the site.
“Looking forward, we are eager for the completion of the Reston Town Center North redevelopment and the valuable community facilities and housing that will be enabled by the project,” Inova said.
The news comes after nonprofit organization Reston Strong asked Inova to undertake a feasibility to study if the building can serve as temporary transitional housing.
But other pieces of the massive project — which has long been in the works — are moving forward.
In February, the county received an unsolicited proposal from Foulger-Pratt to redevelop a nearly 3-acre parcel owned by the county into an apartment building for working families, a new library, and free parking. The application prompted the county to solicit a call for proposals.
Alcorn also established a task force to study public facilities in the RTC North area.
Inova spokesperson Melissa Riddy told FFXnow that a firm timeline is not in place for the completion of the central park.
“The features of the open space in the Central Park have not yet been planned as it is part of the joint planning exercise between Inova and Fairfax County for the redevelopment of Reston Town Center North,” Riddy wrote in a statement.
She added that the timing will depend entirely on the outcome of the planning and zoning process.
A spokesperson for Fairfax County told FFXnow that the county is still working through the procurement process. More information is expected “in the coming weeks and months,” according to Benjamin Boxer, a spokesperson for the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development.
Real Estate Taxes Due Today — For Fairfax County property owners, it’s the final day to send in the first installment of your annual real estate taxes, which saw significant increases this year even with a 3-cent reduction in the county’s rate. Payments can be made to the Department of Tax Administration by phone, mail, drop box, mobile app and online. [DTA]
Springfield Man Convicted in 2020 Murder — A jury convicted Carlington Fitz Auther Campbell yesterday (Wednesday) for shooting and killing Anthony Sullivan outside a West Springfield apartment in November 2020, Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced. Campbell was found guilty of second-degree murder and a weapons charge, which carry possible prison sentences of five to 40 years and three years, respectively. [WUSA9]
Decision on Mosaic District Skating Rink Postponed — “Because of some public pushback, unresolved questions and a legal-advertising snafu, the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) on July 13 deferred until September its decision on whether to allow temporary ice- and roller-skating rinks in Merrifield’s Mosaic District.” [Sun Gazette]
Fairfax City Veterinarian Helps Ukraine Animal Shelters — “Dr. Courtney Katsur chokes up when she describes what she saw while volunteering for two weeks in Ukraine. The veterinarian with Town & Country Animal Hospital in Fairfax tried for months to find a way to get to the war zone to help animals she was seeing in the news.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]
Clinics Available for Required Student Vaccinations — “Before students return to school in late August, families can check to ensure their students are up to date on immunizations required at Fairfax County Public Schools. The Fairfax County Health Department is offering appointments at upcoming immunization clinics.” [Patch]
Inova to Rebrand Urgent Care Centers With Partnership — Inova Health System will soon let patients make appointments, check wait times and more through the on-demand health care platform GoHealth Urgent Care. Announced yesterday (Wednesday), the joint venture will convert seven existing Inova Urgent Care locations in Northern Virginia into Inova-GoHealth Urgent Care centers later this year, with additional locations planned. [Inova]
Penn Daw Firefighters Help Mow Lawn — “Recently, Station 11, Penn Daw, B-Shift responded to a routine EMS incident for an elderly gentleman experiencing distress while mowing his lawn on one of the hottest days of the year. The #FCFRD crew assisted the gentlemen, and then completed mowing his lawn prior to leaving.” [FCFRD/Twitter]
Park Authority Fall Registration Begins Next Week — “Fairfax County Park Authority registration for fall classes and programs opens Aug. 2, 2022. Fall classes will be in full swing with programs at Rec Centers, nature centers, historic sites, lakefront parks, golf courses and schools. Virtual classes are available for those who prefer or cannot attend in person.” [FCPA]
McLean Lidl Hosts Kids’ Drawing Contest — “Lidl is holding a drawing competition for children at its new McLean store as part of a benefit for the SHARE of McLean food bank. Starting Wednesday, children can participate in the drawing competition, with a chance to win a $100 Lidl gift card…Once the competition closes on Wednesday, Aug. 3, Lidl will narrow down the entries and ask McLean community members to vote for their favorite piece of art.” [Patch]
It’s Thursday — Humid and mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 86 and low of 75. Sunrise at 6:08 am and sunset at 8:25 pm. [Weather.gov]
(Updated at 3:55 p.m.) Inova is one step closer to getting the planned expansion of its Franconia-Springfield medical campus to 21 acres.
The Fairfax County Planning Commission voted unanimously last night (Wednesday) to endorse an amended plan for the multi-million dollar Inova HealthPlex on Walker Lane and bordering the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to hold a public hearing and, possibly, vote on approving the plan at the end of this month (June 28). A concurrent rezoning application for the project is scheduled to go before the planning commission on July 20.
The amended, consolidated plan calls for the five-story, 146,000-square-foot Inova medical building to remain with the addition of three new six-story medical buildings. All told, it would add 296,000 square feet of medical care, medical offices, and ancillary/support uses to create a “regional medical campus.”
As noted in last night’s meeting, the additions mean an updated emergency room, modernized inpatient and outpatient facilities, more centrally located offices, and better parking.
There’s also an option to add upward of 500,000 square feet of more medical space, hotels, residential, or, even, retail to the parcel of land next door.
This is all being done within just over half a mile from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station.
“The proposed Medical Campus Option for 1,000,000 square feet of medical care, medical office, and ancillary uses in Land Units S and U would help to address the healthcare needs of the region’s residents and creates an opportunity to promote Transit-Oriented Development at this location,” reads the staff report.
If the board approves the plan later this month, construction could start by late 2023 with a completion date of 2027.
The Franconia-Springfield project was first announced in May 2020. It’s part of a dramatic overhaul of the Inova system, including a whole new facility in Alexandria.
The planning commission’s discussion of the proposal touched on a new roundabout that will hopefully slow down traffic and allow emergency vehicles to exit and enter the facility more swiftly. There was talk about updated and repaved trails, but concerns remained regarding how protected pedestrians will be from “high speed traffic” on the Franconia-Springfield Parkway.
Commenters also raised noise concerns. During the public hearing portion, one neighbor who lives just behind the site for the new facilities on Ayers Meadow Lane expressed fear that the addition of potentially thousands of new employees could lead to more noise and traffic in the area — plus, the ambulances.
“When you are talking about ambulances going up and down the street, how many will have their sirens on in the middle of the night?” the neighbor said.
County staff and Inova representatives responded that they are commissioning a noise study, will work on noise abatement measures, and generally trust drivers to know when to use their sirens. They appreciate the “burden” neighbors will be taking on with the added noise but cautioned that ambulances not using their sirens isn’t an option.
Rabies Confirmed in Biting Coyote — The Fairfax County Health Department confirmed yesterday (Monday) that a coyote that bit four people and two dogs over the weekend in the Lake Accotink area was infected with rabies. Anyone who touched or was bitten or scratched by the animal should call the county health department’s rabies program at 703-246-2433, TTY 711. [FCHD]
Confederate Soldier’s Tombstone Defaced — The letters ‘CS,’ ‘NVA,’ and a Star of David were spraypainted on the tombstone of Armistead T. Thompson in the Thompson Family Cemetery by the Pan Am Shopping Center in Merrifield. Fairfax County police received a report last Tuesday (May 31) and said the property management is working to remove it, though as of Sunday (June 5), the graffiti was still there. [Patch]
Homicide Investigation in Reston Continues — “Detectives and officers are canvassing in the area of Springs Apartments & Hunters Woods Plaza in Reston after Rene Alberto Pineda Sanchez was found deceased on May 31. Call detectives at 703-246-7800, option 2 w/any info.” [FCPD/Twitter]
Inova Opens Northern Virginia’s First LGBTQ-Focused Clinic — “Inova’s Pride Clinic will be open to anyone who needs services. It will begin small as a primary care practice for patients of all ages and then grow to include specialties…The Inova Pride Clinic ribbon-cutting will be Wednesday, June 8 at 10 a.m. in Falls Church at 500 North Washington St., Suite 200.” [WTOP]
Tysons Emergency Is Now Open — “HCA Virginia held a grand opening ceremony on Friday, June 3, 2022 for its new freestanding emergency room in Northern Virginia…The state-of-the-art ER will be staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians and nurses, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, just like an emergency room that is housed within the walls of a hospital.” [HCA Virginia]
County Puts Food Inspection Reports Online — “The public can now access retail food establishment inspection reports more quickly and easily, as part of an update to the county’s new online PLUS platform…Environmental health staff inspect restaurants and other retail food service establishments to make sure employees follow safe food handling practices, covering sanitation, food storage and preparation, and have adequate kitchen facilities.” [FCHD]
Wolf Trap Nonprofit Awarded by Governor — A provider of short-term, overnight care for children with intellectual disabilities, Jill’s House was honored on May 26 with the second ‘Spirit of Virginia Award’ given by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and First Lady Suzanne Youngkin since they took office in January. The organization has served more than 1,000 families since it opened in 2010. [Sun Gazette]
Annandale Park Gets Clean-up — “A big thank you to community volunteers who came out to Backlick Park this past weekend and held a spring clean-up. This successful venture was a wonderful way to mark World Environment Day and the National Great Outdoors Month.” [FCPA/Twitter]
Chantilly Neighborhood Watch on the Lookout for Thievery — “Rob, 53, was already a neighborhood watcher in his Brookfield community…before the ransacking incident two years ago but he said it made him increasingly aware neighborhood watch is a needed position to mitigate this from happening to one of his neighbors.” [Fairfax County Times]
It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 74 and low of 62. Sunrise at 5:45 am and sunset at 8:34 pm. [Weather.gov]
People who were at Inova Fairfax Hospital’s emergency department earlier this week may have been exposed to measles, the Virginia Department of Health reported today (Wednesday).
According to VDH, an unvaccinated child who contracted measles while traveling abroad had visited the hospital at 3300 Gallows Road during the following times:
- May 15: 5:30 p.m. to May 16 at 2 a.m.
- May 16: 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The individual was also present at the Kaiser Permanente Ashburn Medical Center in Loudoun County from 2-5 p.m. on May 13.
“Outside of these specific locations and times, it is currently believed that the risk to the community is low,” the department said in a news release.
Individuals who may have been exposed at Inova can contact VDH’s Fairfax call center at 202-851-9616.
VDH says anyone who has gotten two doses of a vaccine against measles is protected and doesn’t need to take any action.
Those who have only gotten one dose of vaccine are likely protected, but the department advises contacting a health care provider and scheduling a second dose to ensure full protection.
Anyone who has not been vaccinated against measles or contracted the disease should contact the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2411 or a health care provider.
“If you notice the symptoms of measles, stay home and away from others, and immediately call your primary health care provider or health department to discuss further care,” VDH said. “Call ahead before going to the medical office or the emergency room and tell them that you were exposed to measles.”
Symptoms of the highly contagious disease typically emerge in two stages:
Measles is a highly contagious illness that is spread through coughing, sneezing, and contact with droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected individual. Measles symptoms usually appear in two stages. In the first stage, most people have a fever of greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery red eyes, and a cough. The second stage begins around the third to seventh day when a rash begins to appear on the face and spreads over the entire body.
According to the department, measles are “easily preventable” with a vaccination, and children should get two doses, first between the ages of 12-15 months and a second one before they’re 4-6. VDH also recommends that everyone get evaluated for measles immunity and vaccinated before traveling internationally.
A previous potential exposure to measles was reported at Inova Fairfax in February. The Fairfax Health District, which includes the county and cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, also recorded 12 cases last fall as part of an outbreak among people who came from Afghanistan during the U.S.’s evacuation efforts.
Photo via Google Maps
Inova’s new cancer screening and prevention center in Merrifield is the first facility of its kind in the D.C. area, the nonprofit health care system says.
Inova marked the official opening of the Saville Cancer Screening and Prevention Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday (May 4).
First announced in late 2020, the center occupies 24,000 square feet of space in the Inova Schar Cancer Institute at 8081 Innovation Park Drive, according to a news release. Inova says the facility is rare for enabling patients to get prevention, screening, and treatment services in the same place.
“While most people know that early detection saves lives, not everyone knows where to start or has access to quality care,” Dr. Rebecca Kaltman, executive director of the Inova Saville Cancer Screening and Prevention Center, said. “This new state of the art facility provides greater access to routine cancer screening as well as a comprehensive approach to minimizing cancer risk through techniques including biometric assessments, genetic testing and novel, minimally invasive tools to improve early detection.”
The center was built with a $20 million donation from Paul and Linda Saville. Paul Saville is the president and CEO of the Reston-based construction company NVR Inc.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., as of 2020, below cardiovascular diseases and right above COVID-19.
With health concerns and capacity limitations keeping many people away from hospitals and doctors’ offices, the pandemic led to nearly 22 million cancer screenings getting canceled or skipped between June 2020 and March 2021, the American Cancer Society reported in September.
More recently, health care workers across the country say the severity of cancer cases coming in has increased, particularly among people of color.
“We hope that by providing our neighbors with accessible, multidisciplinary screening and prevention services and a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach, we will help our community get back on track with their health and cure more cancers through early detection and intervention,” Inova Schar Cancer Institute President Dr. John Deeken said.
Appointments at the Saville center can be scheduled online or by calling 571-472-4724. A referral isn’t necessary to receive services, according to the press release.
The center will host a free cancer screening and prevention fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 11. Expected to become an annual occurrence, the event will feature free cancer screenings and information sessions with medical staff as well as food trucks, entertainment, kids’ activities, healthy cooking demonstrations, and more.