Local Hospital to Close

Local Hospital to Close

NVCH will become emergency services and imaging center.

As Arlington County's population changes, so do its services. As of May 30, 2006, Northern Virginia Community Hospital will transition to an emergency care and imaging center.

According to a statement released on its Web site, the hospital will become two separate centers: HCA Virginia Emergency Services and Carlin Springs Medical Imaging. The emergency services center will provide 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week care. The imaging center will provide CT, MRI, ultrasound, mammography, and X-ray services.

Megan Descutner, media relations representative for HCA Healthcare, says that "as other hospitals in the area have gotten larger, NVCH has lost patients over a long period of time." Virginia Hospital Center and INOVA Alexandria are the main source of competition for NVCH.

"The population has aged and moved," Descutner says, and this population change has contributed to the hospital's decline in patient numbers. When asked if affordable housing might have contributed to the need for people to move out of the area, Descutner did not deny that it was a possibility.

Since 2003, NVCH has been moving inpatient beds to other hospitals in Northern Virginia, according to Descutner. "We've slowly transitioned as indicated by the needs of the community," she says. HCA Healthcare is working closely with the county in the transitioning to the new facilities, she says.

In the meantime, the hospital has stopped scheduling new inpatient surgeries and is not taking new patients.

Out of the 53 positions held by staff at NVCH, many will be staying on to be part of the imaging or emergency care centers. But for those who won't, HCA has been recruiting them for positions elsewhere in their network of facilities, which includes Reston Hospital Center, Dominion Hospital in Falls Church, Reston Surgery Center and Fairfax Surgical Center. "We're making every effort to keep them in our system," says Descutner. HCA is also planning to build hospitals in Ashburn and Spotsylvania County.

Staff members who won't remain with HCA will get a severance package and 60 days' notice, according to Descutner. They will also receive job placement assistance. "There's a whole nation of healthcare facilities that are looking for staff," says Descutner.