Inova Loudoun’s Massive Expansion

Inova Loudoun’s Massive Expansion

Inova Loudoun Hospital is increasing its footprint in the county with a $300 million expansion at the main Leesburg-area campus scheduled to be completed by 2020.

The expansion will include a 366,000-square-foot, seven-story tower with a larger Heart and Vascular Institute – Schaufeld Family Heart Center. There will be a new obstetrics center, with upgrades in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The tower broke ground in September. Eventually, the hospital will have the capacity for 288 beds – up from 183 now, Inova Loudoun CEO Deborah Addo said. All of those in the tower will be private rooms, which provide a level of comfort and security that is becoming more of a trend in healthcare, she said.

“We will not have that many beds at first,” Addo said. “The growth will be incremental.”

Inova Loudoun CEO Deborah Addo [courtesy of Inova]

A new 766-space parking garage is open, and the south entrance drop-off area has seen upgrades. Improvements at the emergency department, which include adding eight additional bays, are almost completed, Addo said. The work is being done in stages to make sure the ER remains fully functional, making actual construction take longer, she noted.

Staff like nurses will grow as patient volume increases, she said. Some staff has been added in areas such as environmental services, facilities and security. The hospital, which is in the Lansdowne neighborhood and dates to 1912, and a downtown Leesburg center on Cornwall Street has some 1,642 employees. That includes PRN [meaning, ‘as needed’] staff but not contractors.

A private fundraising campaign to support the project hopes to raise $20 million by the time it’s completed. The effort has raised more than $12 million in the last three years. Major donors include venture capitalists Fred, Karen and Bobbi Schaufeld, who pledged $5 million, and business executives Sharon Virts and Scott Miller, who have given more than $2 million for the Virts Miller Family Emergency and Trauma Center. Miller is also on the Board of Trustees of the Inova Foundation Board.

“We should reach our goal by 2020,” Addo said. “We have some very generous donors.”

The Schaufeld family first donated $1 million in 2005 to establish the Schaufeld Family Heart Center at Inova Loudoun. The center has seen a substantial decline in the average “door to balloon” benchmark time, referencing patients who need an emergency angioplasty to unclog arteries with a balloon technique, from 119 minutes in 2009 to below 65 minutes. That is well below the national benchmark of 90 minutes.

Inova Loudoun was among 41 general acute-care hospitals in Virginia that earned an “A” grade for exceptional patient safety performance in fall 2017 scores from the Leapfrog Group. The Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization employs patient safety experts and peer reviews the results, which looks over factors like medical errors, accidents and patient injuries and infections. By publicizing scores, Leapfrog has found that “transparency has a real impact on patient safety,” CEO Leah Binder said in a statement.

Inova Loudoun is one of only 59 hospitals in the United States to make the top rating since Leapfrog began the program in 2012. Other area hospitals with A grades included Novant Health Prince William Medical Center in Manassas, Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington and Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax.

“To have been recognized by Leapfrog for five consecutive years is an honor and a credit to the amazing staff we have here,” said Addo, who joined Inova Loudoun in the spring. Previous positions included CEO of Inova Mount Vernon Hospital in Alexandria and COO of Meritus Health in Hagerstown.

Maryland hospitals, which previously had been the only hospitals exempt from public reporting due to a federal waiver, performed poorly in their first reviews this fall. Only one of the state’s 44 general acute-care hospitals graded in Maryland – Howard County General Hospital in Columbia – earned an “A,” compared with 31.6 percent of hospitals graded nationally. No centers in Washington, D.C., made the top grade, while 41 of the 68 hospitals reviewed in Virginia earned an “A.”

Falls Church-based Inova is pretty much the dominant medical player in Loudoun. Nashville-based HCA has been its strongest competitor, opening the 124-bed StoneSprings Hospital Center in Dulles in 2015, which has been expanding itself beyond its five-story patient tower.

In 2015, Inova responded by building a $31 million center in Ashburn, which features a 24-hour emergency room with ambulatory care, primary care, physical therapy and diagnostic services. Besides the Cornwall center, which has an emergency room and is in the process of paving improvements, Inova runs an urgent care facility in Purcellville and other services such as rehabilitation.

As a nonprofit system, Inova has more demands on its resources than typical for-profit systems, which include HCA, Addo said. “We do more unreimbursed care than most,” she said. “We support free clinics. We take people whether they are insured or not. We consider ourselves to be the safety net for the community.”

The Lansdowne campus has been under various stages of expansion for several years. The hospital recently closed the north entrance due to the tower construction, so the south entrance is the main one. It can be challenging to deal with the increased noise, parking problems and wayfinding issues, Addo said.

“We can see the beginning and the end of a project,” she said. “It’s living through the middle part that is the challenge.”

The hospital recently had a few days where major blasting was required, which can be upsetting to patients, particularly those more susceptible to migraines and other conditions, Addo noted. “We are stepping up our efforts to keep patients informed when there will be those kinds of major disruptions,” she said.

The south drop-off area at Inova Loudoun Hospital has already seen improvements. [Kevin Shay photo]