Wednesday, December 13, 2006
On Thursday, Virginia Hospital Center is going to move its urgent care center from S. Fern Street in Pentagon City (across from Costco) to the grounds of the former Virginia Community Hospital, on S. Carlin Springs Road. It’s about halfway between Arlington Boulevard and Columbia Pike. There, the center will remain open 24 hours.
This irked County Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman and civic activists from the Pentagon City area. If the story in the Arlington Connection is correct, Mr. Zimmerman thought the deal the county had made with VHC years ago required VHC to remain in or near Pentagon City. Seth Rosen, a reporter for the Connection, wrote:
“The source of Zimmerman’s ire is the disputed details of an agreement the hospital made with the county in 2000 when it sought to expand its main campus in North Arlington. In return for the right to add to its main building, Virginia Hospital Center consented to open a medical center in the Pentagon City neighborhood — which a year earlier had lost its hospital.
“Zimmerman contends that the hospital is obliged to find new space for the facility in the surrounding neighborhood. By moving out to the Arlington-Fairfax border, the hospital is shirking its commitment, he said.”
But Mary Curtius, in the county public relation’s department, double checked with County Manager Ron Carlee that the deal simply asked the hospital to keep the facilities in South Arlington, which they did.
I don’t see the big problem here. I can see that the urgent care facility is no longer on the Metro line. But it’s certainly not off the beaten path. Buses get there easily and quickly, as quickly and easily as they can, anyway. I can understand that the Pentagon City area had an urgent care facility and they still want one, but rents in that area are too high to afford one. Plus Virginia Community Hospital (I believe it was once called Doctor’s Hospital) is moving out—use the space, for crying out loud. It seems to me that this means less down time. Move out of one and into the other; they’re not waiting for the space to be ready or working with landlords who might not want to make the necessary renovations (VHC now owns the property; they rented space in Pentagon City).
A friend of mine, who happens to be a doctor, said she thought we were lucky in Arlington, a rather small county, to have two facilities, but not everyone can have one in their neighborhood.
My latest dispatch appears in this week’s Arlington Connection.
I know you can pick up a copy at the Barcroft Community Center on Four Mile Run, at Murky Coffee in Clarendon and Bob and Edith’s diner (the original store) on Columbia Pike—I’m sure there are other places in the county where you can snag one. Or simply call 703-917-6465, and they’ll set-up a FREE SUBSCRIPTION for you (if you live in Arlington). It takes about six or eight weeks to get your first, so be patient.
Next issue (with luck):
"Galactica!" (a sweet little production from the Big Minds at the Goddard Space Flight Center—nothing says “fun” like scientists writing a play!).
Also, I’ll be getting in something about the county board meetings regarding Buckingham news. A couple items have piqued my interest.
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