Doctor Is In

Doctor Is In

Kaiser Permanente plans to open new Ashburn medical center in December.

Beginning this December, Loudoun residents will have an easier time getting to their doctors. Kaiser Permanente plans to open its second Loudoun location in Ashburn just in time for the new year.

Located in the Broadland's Ryan Park Center at the intersection of the Dulles Greenway and Ashburn Village Boulevard, the 20,000-square-foot facility will be Kaiser's 30th location in the Mid-Atlantic region. The first Kaiser facility in Loudoun is located in Lansdowne on Deerfield Avenue.

The medical group decided to open the second county location in order to meeting the growing demands of the county's population and to make medical care more convenient for residents.

"Loudoun is one of the fastest growing counties in the country," Laura Peters, who oversees the Lansdowne and Reston locations and will manage the new Ashburn center, said. "We want to keep pace with the growth. This is something that has been in the works for the last two years."

The goal with opening the new center is to have one center on each of the county's major arteries, Peters said.

Currently the Chantilly center serves the Route 50 corridor and the Lansdowne center serves Route 7. The Ashburn location, as well as the Reston location, is meant to serve those who come along the Dulles Greenway and Toll Road.

LIKE THE first Loudoun location, the Ashburn center will offer Kaiser members internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, laboratories, a pharmacy and radiology services. The center will also offer behavioral health services in the beginning with a psychiatrist or psychologist on staff.

"We always open centers with primary care and preventive care," Dr. Waylan Ables, the area medical director for Northern Virginia, said. "As we grow we would like to add more special services."

As Loudoun County and the surrounding areas continue to increase in populations, Kaiser is also making plans to bring more medical specialties to the Reston location.

"It would work sort of as a specialty hub," Peters said. "It would include highly-utilized, specialized practices, such as general surgery, orthopedics and podiatry."

While Ables said the process of moving the specialties to Reston is still only in the planning stages, Kaiser hopes to have it done within the next year.

"It is all about trying to provide more convenient care for our members and potential members," he said.

IN ADDITION to keeping pace with the county's growth, Kaiser is also hoping to increase its membership with the addition of the Ashburn center.

"We currently have almost 17,000 members with a Loudoun County ZIP code," Ables said. "Many of them are members of our Loudoun, Reston or Chantilly centers."

While Kaiser does not have any goal for the number of members it hopes to see at the new location, Peters said they are optimistic about the growth of membership in the area. "The focus is that we don't feel people should drive as far to get their needed care," she said.

Any Kaiser members living in Loudoun will be given the option of switching primary-care providers to be at the Ashburn center or staying at their current location, Ables said.

"[Members] are going to be able to look at the variety of centers that we offer," he said. "The Ashburn center just gives you more choices. It is totally up to [the member] if you want to travel to the new center or your current one."

HEALTH CARE in the county has been the focus of much attention in recent years. Less than two years ago, Inova Health System merged with the county's nonprofit Loudoun Healthcare Inc. Inova runs the county's only full-service hospital, located directly across from Kaiser's Lansdowne location.

Last year the Board of Supervisors denied an application by the Hospital Corporation of America to construct a second hospital in Broadlands and Inova sued over the company's Certificate of Public Need, citing the second hospital's close proximity to the Lansdowne hospital. Hospital Corporation of America is also in court with the county, suing over the board's denial of their application.

Kaiser representatives, however, are not expecting any problem in association with opening of the Ashburn center.

Ables said that Kaiser works closely with Inova, often sending their patients to Inova hospitals when needed.

"We have a very good working relationship with Inova," he said. "I don't anticipate that the Ashburn center will change that relationship at all."