Plan for 2nd Loudoun hospital heads to supervisors for vote

By Sholnn Freeman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 2, 2010; LZ01

A proposal to build the county's second major hospital is headed for a vote by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors following unanimous approval Wednesday by the nine members of the county Planning Commission.

The 164-bed facility, called the StoneSpring Regional Medical Center, would be on Route 50 at Gum Spring Road in southern Loudoun. The hospital would be built by the Hospital Corp. of America, a for-profit company that has headquarters in Richmond and operates 13 facilities in the state, including the Reston Hospital Center.

"We are thrilled that the goal to provide additional hospital care is finally moving closer to reality," said Tracey White, vice president of government and community relations for HCA. "We are willing to do what we have to do to have the project move forward seamlessly."

White said the project could come before the Board of Supervisors for approval May 10. Last week, Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) said opposition to a new HCA hospital has diminished now that Inova Health System, which operates Inova Loudoun Hospital, has stopped fighting it.

The 337,000-square-foot StoneSpring facility is expected to open in December 2015, cost $195 million and employ 500 people. HCA officials said the hospital would generate $3 million annually in tax revenue.

Hospital proposals by HCA in Loudoun have been marked by controversy for years. In February 2009, supervisors voted down an HCA proposal to build a hospital in the more densely populated Broadlands community of eastern Loudoun. The plan was attacked by Inova Health System, whose hospital is five miles from the proposed Broadlands site.

HCA shifted strategies late last year and announced that it would abandon the Broadlands hospital in favor of the southern Loudoun location.

Several residents spoke in favor of the new hospital at the Planning Commission hearing.

Peter Klosky of Sterling said that he is pleased the county is moving forward with the new hospital and that the county needs more health-care options. He said he has driven as far as Baltimore to seek medical care for his 14-year-old daughter.

"I think officials missed an opportunity in the past," Klosky said. "At no cost to the county, we would have had a facility that would have benefited the county with health-care employment and [expanding] the tax base."

HCA officials said StoneSpring would be equipped with a full-scale emergency department, a 12-bed maternity center and 40 beds devoted to child and adolescent mental health.

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