Plans for expansion and an unexpected financial windfall were the highlights of the Southeast Health Care Planning Task Force's first meeting of the new year.
During the Jan. 9 meeting at the Mount Vernon Government Center, Inova Mount Vernon Hospital officials revealed they were able to reduce financial losses from a predicted $10 million to $1.8 million over the past two years. The loss reduction was the result of more services offered by the hospital and an increase in patients.
"This is a real improvement. We are also now actively involved in a physician recruitment effort and expansion plans have been filed with the state," said Arlan Reynolds, acting administrator at the hospital.
Expansion plans call for a build-out of the hospital's third floor. According to Reynolds, plans for additional operating rooms, expansion of radiology, and a new bone density scanner are in the works. The cost of the plans has not yet been discussed.
The hospital will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for a chemotherapy infusion area on Feb. 12.
The group also received a report from Rod Huebbers, senior vice president for Inova Health System. Huebbers recently replaced Patrick Walters as liaison for Inova facilities in Alexandria and Southeastern Fairfax County.
"This is a wonderful community hospital," Huebbers said. "It is a community asset that has some world-renowned capabilities. That word needs to get out not only to the community but also to a national audience of those capabilities."
Huebbers also urged a concerted effort to entice some of the increased personnel coming to Fort Belvoir as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure Report (BRAC) to utilize Inova’s Mount Vernon medical facilities.
"The most important priority of any hospital is the well being of its employees. Without good employees there can be no good patient care. I have spent time at the hospital talking with physicians and employees and they are dedicated to this hospital," Huebbers said.
Tying into Huebbers' plea to entice arriving BRAC personnel to utilize Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, the task force discussed creating a linkage with the proposed new Fort Belvoir hospital and the hospital.
Task Force Chair Anne Andrews suggested a meeting with Fort Belvoir Garrison Commander Brian Lauritzen.
Task force member George Barker reported that the earliest date for the approval of Inova's planned Lorton healthplex application would be July.
According to IHS projections, a July approval would mean the healthplex would be available within one year.