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N. Va. hospital seeks to grow by another 100 beds

Published by, Washington Business Journal- Tina Reed- March 21, 2017

 

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Virginia Hospital Center wants to add 100 more inpatient beds to its Arlington hospital campus as part of its planned expansion on to an adjacent piece of land vacated by the county.

The Arlington hospital has told the county to expect its proposed site plan by June.

Virginia Hospital Center wants to add 100 more inpatient beds to its Arlington hospital campus as part of its planned expansion onto an adjacent piece of land vacated by the county.

The 357-bed hospital requested approval from Virginia regulators to add the beds in conjunction with an expansion and relocation of its outpatient services to a 5-acre parcel on Edison Street next to the hospital.

That plan calls for a 140,000-square-foot outpatient building to be built atop and adjacent to a new parking structure that could accommodate at least 2,000 vehicles.

The additional inpatient beds would go into the space formerly occupied by outpatient programs, said Adrian Stanton, the hospital's chief marketing officer.

According to its request to regulators, Virginia Hospital Center will need 63 additional acute-care medical/surgical beds due to increasing demand.

An analysis conducted by Houston-based consulting firm Capital Healthcare Planning included in the request projected:

  • 6.1 percent population growth in the hospital's total service area in the next five years, including a projected growth rate among senior citizens that is at least 25 percent higher than in the rest of the commonwealth and nation.
  • Discharges at the hospital will increase by 7,600 in the next decade to more than 32,000 by 2025.
  • At least seven new operating rooms will be needed in 10 years.
  • An increase of 14,000 emergency department visits in the next decade, reaching 80,300 in 2025.

In 2015, the hospital won the option to buy the county-owned plot next door for at least $12.5 million in the form of cash or a land swap. The hospital had offered to trade property where it runs an urgent care center at 601 S. Carlin Springs Road with the county. According to its regulatory filing, the hospital expects a decision from the county on the hospital property by May.

Virginia Hospital Center is rare in Northern Virginia's health care landscape as one of just a few independent hospitals. Even amid an industrywide shift away from inpatient care to the outpatient setting, the hospital has reported record volumes, creating the need for expansion, its leaders said. For instance, nearly 65 percent of the time in 2014, the hospital was at minimum 80 percent occupancy. On at least 83 of those days, the number of patients in the hospital exceeded the number of available beds.

Even as it awaits state approval for the new beds, the hospital intends to submit campus expansion plans to Arlington County planners in June for review, Stanton said.

In the meantime, the hospital is getting its real estate team in place, hiring Arlington-based HDR Inc. as the project's architect earlier this month. It also hired Arlington-based Hammes Co. to serve as project manager and will pick a construction firm and parking and engineering consultants next, Stanton said.

The hospital's timeline in its request for new beds pegs a regulatory decision by the end of this year. If it wins approval, construction on the Edison site would start in the third quarter of 2018 with estimated completion by the end of 2020.

This comes as other major health care players in the Washington region are in expansion mode. Inova Health System opened its new women and children’s tower in Fairfax last January and is building out its Inova Center for Personalized Health campus across the street on the former Exxon Mobil property.

In D.C., MedStar Health officials plan to break ground this spring on a 477,000-square-foot surgical pavilion just east of the main MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Johns Hopkins’ Sibley Memorial Hospital just opened its new patient tower in the fall in Northwest D.C., and its Suburban Hospital has a new tower of its own under construction in Bethesda. Holy Cross Health System also completed a new 232,000-square-foot hospital tower in 2015 in Silver Spring.

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