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Without the MISSION Act, millions of veterans will lose access to care

Since the Veterans Administration (VA) scandal broke in 2014, Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) across the country have worked with Congress to ensure greater accountability, transparency, and efficiency in delivering quality care to our veterans.

The current VA Choice Program is one of those opportunities. With over two million veterans using the Choice Program to schedule over 39 million essential appointments, it is in danger of running out of funding by the end of the month. Without funding, millions of our nation’s warriors will lose access to the care they desperately need. 

The MISSION Act, supported by over 38 National VSOs—a staggering and unified number—strengthens the VA’s ability to deliver efficient and immediate care to our veterans. It does so by providing over $5 billion to prevent disruptions of care in the Choice Program, modernizing VA healthcare, creating integrated networks of high-performing providers to support the VA, creating a commission to review current VA facilities, and making it possible for World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and Gulf War veterans with severe combat-related disabilities to receive comprehensive caregiver assistance. 

Last Wednesday, 70 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against the MISSION ACT and voted for political games over improving healthcare for those who served our country.  Without immediate passage of the bill in the Senate, veterans could lose a critical support line to receive the care they require—and will again be forced to face long waiting periods to receive treatment.

Such waiting periods have led to veteran deaths in the past, and we cannot let a single veteran die waiting for the care they need simply because of Congressional delays.

As one who wore an Air Force uniform for 30 years and later chaired the Joint Virginia House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus that is the legislative clearing house for bills on behalf of 800,000 Virginia veterans, I know first-hand that the MISSION Act is crucial.

I strongly encourage those reading this letter to call Senators Warner and Kaine, urging them to support this bill that ensures that our nation’s heroes receive the care they deserve.

In Manassas, across the commonwealth, tourism spending is on the rise

Governor Ralph Northam today released 2017 preliminary state economic impact data from U.S. Travel Association. This information depicts the impact tourism and domestic travel has on the economy.

Local impact data is not yet available for Manassas; however, the preliminary numbers indicate another record year for tourism spending as consumers seek out more experiential opportunities.

Tourism is an essential part of our local economy. Few localities have experienced such seminal events as Manassas did during the Civil War. The Manassas National Battlefield Park, Liberia Plantation and Manassas Museum continue to serve as key attractions.

Increasingly, visitors are also drawn to the charm of Historic Downtown, its specialty shopping and dining, and crowd-pleasing events.

In 2017 over 369,000 people attended one of the city’s many popular events: 1st Friday’s, Bands, Brews and Barbeque; Wine and Jazz Festival, Farmer’s Market (VisitManassas.org).

According to the Virginia Tourism Commission (VTC), tourists spent more than $68 million in Manassas last year and generated $1.8 million in local tax revenues; not including indirect or multiplier impacts.

Data breaches: How to keep your digital information safe

Digital data breaches go well beyond debit or credit card theft. In fact, it is fair to say that debit and credit card theft is the least of your worries.

Chris Albright

Your bank and credit card companies have safeguards in place to return your funds to you, but most other data cannot be retrieved once breached. Even when stolen data is recovered and new security is put in place, the breached information is in the hands of the hacker.

With the increasing amount of private, sensitive and business-critical data stored digitally, this can be detrimental. Chris Albright of CMIT Solutions of Centreville has some tips for minimizing your risk of a data breach.

Understand the Need for Security

Many businesses and everyday individuals severely underestimate their level of risk. You might be a small or mid-sized business, but the data you store digitally can be a hacker’s goldmine. Take a look at some of the major organizations who have been breached in the last couple of years.

  • The Pennsylvania hack of the Department of Education’s website compromised the information of 360,000 employees.
  • The City of Atlanta’s recent ransomware attack halted essential municipal services, leading to ATL airport shutting down their Wi-Fi.
  • Due to deceiving third-party agreements, 50 million Facebook users unknowingly had their posts, private messages, and data accessed without their consent.
  • The 2016 Banner Health cyberattack exposed the private health information of 3.7 million patients in 27 locations across the nation. This type of data can sell for 10 times more than credit card information.
  • The Equifax credit reporting bureau was breached in 2017 leading to 147.9 million Americans’ personal information being leaked, placing all involved at higher risk for identity theft.
  • The 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack was the largest in history and affected thousands of businesses and individuals from around the globe.

If these organizations can be breached, many of whom must comply with strict industry digital data storage regulations, SMBs and everyday online accounts are vulnerable as well.

Reducing Your Risk

First and foremost, there is no way to 100 percent guarantee that your data will never be breached. but there is much you can do to reduce the likelihood:

Passwords: Change your passwords at least twice a year. Use strong passwords, preferably with a password manager that encrypts your passwords. Password protect all electronic devices, as many of them autologin to all the accounts you’ve logged into. Also, upload a lockout feature so that if your device is lost or stolen, passwords are erased.

Delete: Delete old digital accounts that you no longer use, or you may forget about them and the information they contain. Also, create a list of all online accounts and mobile apps that require logins. Even a one-time purchase to an e-commerce site can lead to a data breach, from a place you don’t even remember ordering from.

Be mindful of what you share: Your Facebook profile alone shares information such as where you were born, where you went to school, your kids’ names, your pets’ names and more. These are often the answers to three-factor authentication designed to improve your security. Never ever share, electronically or in person, your login information. Look through your Facebook messenger feed, you may be surprised at the amount of personal information you share there. You may want to reconsider going forward.

Never open suspicious emails: It’s easier said than done as hackers are good at sounding legitimate. This is particularly challenging at work where you won’t know everyone who sends you an email. If you open something that feels fishy, follow your company’s procedures to scan your device. If at home, run a security scan on your own.

Improve your security: Upgrade to newer software and technology, such as from a magnetic strip debit card to an EMV card if it’s available. Upgrade your website with an SSL Certificate. Perform all software and app updates ASAP, as they contain security patches and updates. Encrypt your data. Restrict remote login. Set up automated alerts for abnormal activity, such as on your debit card when you travel or make an unusually large purchase. Have a digital security professional scan your network and devices for security risks and set up an automated system for determining a hack or data breach.

Stay up to date: Online security is constantly evolving, so you must keep up. What minimizes your risks today may not be relevant in a year or less.

We are at a point at which we don’t think twice about our most private and personal information being stored digitally. For example, you may even communicate with your physician via email or use health and fitness apps in which you store in-depth health information. Just a decade ago we would have been a bit more mindful, but the convenience and functional factors have become of such great benefit that we will continue to store more information digitally, not less. This means data breach security must be top of mind for personal use, professional use and even for the kids in our family.

CMIT Solutions of Centreville provides a strategic approach to IT consulting that improves the performance of your business technology in the most cost-effective way possible. Assisting businesses across Northern Virginia, CMIT Centreville can help you achieve the fastest return on your technology investment. Call 703-881-7738 today to see how CMIT Centreville can help your business stay in business.

Sentara’s Daisy Team Award winners served food, gave dry, clean toiletries to a nearby homeless encampment

The team at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is dedicated to serving our patients every day.

One group is recognized for their hard work- not just inside the hospital, but outside the walls as well.

The ICU Team was named this year’s Daisy Team Award winners.

This team spearheaded an initiative to serve food and provide dry, clean toiletries to a nearby homeless encampment, and this meant coming in several weekends to sort and prepare donated items.

Then, on the weekend they were serving food- it poured! The team didn’t give up though, they toughed it out- and many folks who might have gone hungry that day had a hot meal.

The Daisy Foundation was formed by the Barnes Family in 1999 after the loss of their 33-year-old son J. Patrick Barnes. The nursing care that their son received when hospitalized profoundly touched his family, and they wanted to recognize nurses that provide exceptional care…while often stating, “I am just doing my job.”

Your jobs touch the hearts and lives of more than you know. The Daisy Foundation was developed to celebrate nurses.

The Daisy Nurse award is presented quarterly to SNVMC nurses who meet a high standard of care provided. The award was developed for the celebration of nurses who provide extraordinary compassionate and skillful care every day.

The Daisy Team award is presented yearly.

Potomac Local Parent of the Month: Kristina

Potomac Parent is a monthly column that looks at life through the eyes of real parents. This month, we interview Kristina.
 
1. What time you do wake up?
I’m still on chemotherapy treatments until around August, so getting out of bed is not my favorite.  I’m usually up around 7, 7:30, but not functionally out of bed until 8 or so. 

2. What are your children’s names and ages?
Riley is 14, Logan is 12 and Savannah is 10.

3. What’s the most difficult part about your morning routine?
Our mornings usually work pretty well, actually.  Each of my kids has a laminated sheet with their morning list on it, so they do their chores, eat breakfast and get ready for the day on their own.  It’s a perk of having older kids.  We homeschool, so as long as they’re ready to start devotions by 9 a.m., they’re good to go.

4. What is your morning beauty or grooming routine?
I tend to shower at night so that I have time to do my hair, so in the mornings I keep it pretty basic — just brushing, moisturizing, and clothes, although if I’m going out I’ll do my makeup. I am trying to be better about that now that I’m in my mid-thirties. I’ve definitely noticed that people react better to my face when it’s made up, and they ask me if I’m feeling okay if it’s not. That’s definitely a sign I need a little help!

5. Are you a coffee or tea person?
Yes.  I enjoy a nice cappuccino or hazelnut latte, but at home I usually go for tea.  Iced Lipton with lemon (no sugar), or Numi Organic Chai with half and half and honey, or Tazo Lemon Cake are some of my favorites. 

6. What do you do once the kids are in school?
My kids are homeschooled, so when they’re in school, I’m in school.  Balancing their coursework with my own responsibilities can seem like a lot, but for the most part, we’ve got it down to a science. I write, run my website and plan my lessons for classes I teach outside our home in the “between times” when everyone is working independently.  
 
7. What kind of work do you do outside the home?
Until January, I was Delegate Rich Anderson’s community outreach coordinator, and I run PwcMoms.com.  I also teach classes at Capital Baptist Coop, and I volunteer in our community and through our church. However, I think that my work inside our home raising our kids is the most important thing that I do, and I think that it’s okay to think that. For a lot of moms that choose to stay home, it can feel like people are looking down on your decision, so I just want to validate that it’s a legitimate choice.

8. What is the biggest challenge of trying to get work done – any work – with your schedule and responsibilities?
I think that as moms, prioritizing our time is really hard because we’re all kind of stuck in that “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” mode where you start one thing and then notice another that needs to get done.  It’s really easy to walk downstairs with a basket of laundry and notice the kitchen needs cleaning and then realize you  haven’t started dinner and then you get a phone call for work — it just kind of snowballs.  I try to take time to plan the deliberate parts of my day — phone calls scheduled during certain times, to-do list items that must get done, and then I can always go back to my list to feel like I’ve accomplished something that day when I see the completed tasks.

9. What do you wear during the work week?
If it’s winter, I’m probably in jeans and a sweater, wishing I lived in Southern California.  If it’s not winter, I’m a big fan of dresses and skirts.  Since I generally work from home, it would be really easy for me to stay in pajamas or sweats all day, but I did the Fly Lady system for a long time, which requires you to get up and get dressed and take your day seriously, and that really stuck with me.

10. What’s the craziest thing that happened to you so far this week?
I’m teaching a Biography in Writing class at our homeschool coop this year, and that can get really dicey when people cancel at the last minute — so probably having to ad-hoc a class around watching a YouTube video interview of Colonel Sanders from KFC fame.  

11. Do you have pets?
We do not. We have had bunnies in the past, but right now we are pet-free, which is, honestly, kind of nice. I still want a dog though, but that would require my husband completely abandoning all of his moral principles, so it’s probably not gonna happen.

12. How do you get through the hard times?
Without sounding preachy, I am a big believer in relying on God. My Christian faith helps me to keep things in perspective, and to know that there is someone bigger than me that I can lean on when things are overwhelming. It also provides me with other women to look to as mentors, and friends who will pray for me and help me during the really hard times.  Having been through two cancer diagnoses, my definition of “hard” is also a lot different now than it was before.  Crying kids and burning dinner pale in comparison with facing your own mortality at 29, so I keep things in a lot better perspective because of that. There’s a tradition in Judaism (my degree is in comparative religion) where you break off a piece of bread dough and burn it as an offering to God before you make the loaves, and I love that, because the idea is that you’re giving your sacrifice before you know how it turns out and God honors your effort, not the outcome.  As moms, we’re working every day on these little people and we’re not really able to see the outcome yet, but I believe that God accepts our efforts in much the same way. We’re all just trying our best.

13. What’s you favorite color?
Grey. And glitter. 
 
14. What kind of car do you drive?
A Dodge Grand Caravan.  If you would have told me that a minivan would become my dream car, I probably would’ve jumped off the Empire State Building in my junior year of high school, but I really do love it.  I wish it had the automatic sliding doors, though, because my children’s friends are super confused by the fact that they have to shut the doors themselves.
 
15. If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?
This question legitimately seems like something you got from my children to torture me with.  They love asking me random, frequently ridiculous, hypothetical questions. I refuse this question on principle.

For Anderson, congestion relief on I-95 comes with improving the shoulder

Anderson

Over the last two years, I have held six community meetings specifically on traffic congestion mitigation in or near the Occoquan District. Several solutions were suggested by residents including improvements to I-95 from the Route 123 interchange to the Prince William Parkway interchange. 

Prince William County commuters suffer from the current configuration of I-95 south over the Occoquan River. As it stands today, traveling south, I-95 has four through lanes as you approach the I-95/Route 123 interchange.

The 4th lane abruptly ends at the same time as the exit ramp onto Route 123 pulls away. This effectively creates a two-lane reduction over about 200-300 meters. Moreover, the short acceleration ramp onto I-95 south from Route 123 creates a dangerous weaving motion that exacerbates the congestion.

To address these concerns I supported the Prince William County Board of Supervisors proposal to widen I-95 and apply for 2016 Smart Scale funding, which is the primary state funding source for transportation projects. This proposal was unsuccessful in its bid for several reasons.

One primary challenge was a conflict with the existing HOT lanes contract (Transurban) for I-95 that limits future expansion of general-purpose lanes on I-95. Once the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) made this determination, I began working toward an alternate plan with elected officials at the Federal, State, and Local level as well as senior representatives from Prince William County Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, and Transurban.

My new goal was to determine what project could be proposed for 2018 Smart Scale funding that would dramatically improve the safety and quality of life for commuters on I-95 southbound and secondary roads, without creating a new lane.

My office is working directly with all previously mentioned organizations as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation on a new proposal that creates a reinforced shoulder between the Route 123 interchange and the Prince William Parkway interchange. This will eliminate the need for cars entering I-95 southbound to merge quickly into traffic. The impacts of the proposed improvements are still being studied, but they would potentially make this section of road safer, improve the flow of traffic by reducing accidents, and make trips on the road more reliable for commuters. This project has been submitted for Federal funds with plans to submit for state funds this fall. 

Editors note: A reinforced shoulder will allow the pavement to carry the weight of more cars on the highway, similar to Red X lanes on Interstate 66.

Specialized treatment helps most stubborn cuts at the Sentara Wound Healing Center

Chronic wounds affect about 6.5 million patients in the U.S. every year.

Over the last year, Howard Holcomb has become part of that group. The 76-year-old suffers from cellulitis, a condition where bacteria enters the skin and becomes inflamed. In Holcomb’s situation, his extremities filled with liquid. 

“My skin is very tender, and I bleed easily,” explains the Woodbridge resident. “I had wounds on my arms, and my left leg looked like a balloon, it swelled up so badly.”

After spending nearly two weeks in the hospital and receiving a course of antibiotics, Holcomb was released, but an incision that doctors had made in his leg to relieve pressure wasn’t healing as it should.

He was referred to the Sentara Wound Healing Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center.

“I went to the Wound Healing Center there at Sentara and met Dr. Shapiro and her incredible team,” says Howard smiling, “They made all the difference.”

The Sentara Wound Healing Center, led by Dr. Carol Shapiro, is committed to determining the right plan of care for its patients.

“Many of our patients are diabetics dealing with ulcers,” explains Dr. Shapiro, Medical Director of Sentara Wound Healing Center.

“Really, our patients are people with a wound that’s not healing. That can be from surgery where it opens up. It can be from an infection. It can be because somebody gets a cut in a briar patch and it’s not healing because of a foreign body in the wound. Any reason a wound’s not healing, we see them.”

The Center, comprised of a team of experienced wound healing specialists, work with the patient and his physician to assess symptoms, determine the underlying cause of a non-healing wound and customize the most effective treatment plan to stimulate healing.

“Our patients have access to our multi-specialty capabilities and specialists,” explains Dr. Shapiro. “We have infectious disease doctors, plastic surgery, great general surgeons, podiatrists and an emergency department nearby for patients that have to be admitted for one reason or another.”

Mr. Holcomb says while he still has a long way to go, he’s noticed a difference, “Before the Sentara Wound Healing Center, I didn’t even know these services existed! They took care of all the wounds on my arms- they’re all healed.”

He recommends Dr. Shapiro and her team to everyone he meets, “There have got to be a lot of people that need this kind of help. They are the most incredible group I’ve ever been around. They’re so knowledgeable and experienced, but yet so personable, you just don’t mind going there at all, and I love visiting with everybody. Everybody’s so friendly.”

The team members at the Sentara Wound Healing Center pride themselves on delivering that kind of care and following up with everyone who comes through their doors. They’re also excited about a recent renovation and expansion of services.

The remodeled first-floor space allows for easy access with larger doorways, halls, and storage so patients and practitioners can move from room to room. T

The expansion also included room for the introduction of a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber or HBO therapy. HBO, as it’s known, is used in the treatment of complex wounds and illnesses.

“The purpose of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is to promote healing on wounds which are stalling either because of a systemic disease like diabetes and vascular, or areas treated with radiation. By breathing this 100% oxygen, wounds heal quicker, there’s disease to blood vessels, and this opens them,” explains Dr. Shapiro.

Dr. Shapiro says this is just one more way the Sentara Wound Healing Center is working to treat the community, but she advises everyone to never let an unhealing cut, especially on your foot, go too long.

To schedule your appointment with the Sentara Wound Healing Center, call 703-523-0660.

A sweet treat for two at Chick-fil-A Bristow: $5,000 in scholarship funds

For two Chick-fil-A employees, earning a combined $5,000 in scholarship money was sweeter than the milkshakes sold behind the counter. 
 

Kifer


Catherine Kifer, 19, and Lauren Purdue, 18, were awarded $2,500 each in scholarship funds by on Tuesday, May 8. The awardees’ parents looked on, and the patrons who filled the restaurant applauded. 
 
Kifer is the Drive-Through Coordinator with two years of experience working at the restaurant, and Purdue works the drive-through and

Purdue


front counter. 
 
The two co-workers applied together for the scholarships. Purdue, a soon-to-be graduate of Kettle Run High School in Fauquier County, came to Kifer, her supervisor, told her about the company scholarship and asked for a recommendation. 
 
“Wow, how do I write this,” said Kifer, who said it was the first time anyone had asked her for a letter for a recommendation. 
 
She wrote it, and and, then decided she, too, would apply. 
 
After putting in two years at Northern Virginia Community College, Kifer will use the funds to transfer to Messiah College, a small Christian school in Mechanicsburg, Pa. to study psychology. 
 
Purdue will attend Liberty University in Lynchburg in the fall where she plans to study early childhood education. She’s already spent time teaching small children at church while her father, a pastor, preaches from the pulpit. 
 
“Having Sunday’s off of work really helps,” said Purdue. 
 
The women will take with them to college some of the skills they’ve learned while working at Chick-fil-A. For Purdue, it’s her newfound communications skills that have allowed to her open up and meet new people. 
 
Kifer say’s she’s learned to multitasking while serving customers. 
 
“I can work a shift with 10 to 15 people under me, do an $11,000 lunch shift, help manage the front and work in the back,” said Purdue. “It’s taught me that if the professor is late to class, I’ll just take out my work and start doing it there on the desk while I wait.” 
 
Both students will be able to re-apply for more scholarship money from Chick-fil-A next year as long as they’re still employed by the company. Both students said they’d be back to work during college breaks and holidays. 
 
Kifer and Purdue’s parents joined their daughters at a special ceremony where Lovitt handed out the awards. He purposely used his booming voice to announce to his customers that filled the dining room of his employees’ accomplishments. 
 
Afterward, he served cake to not only the awardees but to every guest in the restaurant, too. 
 

JES Foundation Repair wins 2018 Fantastic Fifty Award

Five-time award winner credits growth to homeowner satisfaction

JES Foundation Repair was recently honored with a Fantastic 50 award for being one of the 50 fastest growing companies in Virginia. Since 1998, JES is one of eight companies in the state to achieve the award five times. The Fantastic 50 award program is organized and sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re humbled to be recognized alongside such outstanding Virginia companies” said Cary McGuckin, CMO. “It’s a testament to our employees who are always willing to go the extra mile and to the homeowners who put their trust in us.”

JES qualified for the 2018 Fantastic 50 list by growing over 200% from 2013 to 2016, the period measured by the Chamber to qualify.

“The growth of JES has been amazing,” said Matt Malone, CEO. “It’s the result of a hardworking, passionate team that truly believes in our mission to provide homeowners with the highest level of service and support.”

Malone joined the team as co-owner and managing partner in 2016, and is leading the continued growth throughout the eastern United States.

About JES Foundation Repair – JES Foundation Repair is a subsidiary of Groundworks, a family of companies that specialize in residential foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete lifting. It is the nation’s largest foundation services company with the corporate office in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Groundworks is comprised of JES Foundation Repair, Tar Heel Basement Systems, Indiana Foundation Service, and Mount Valley Foundation Services. Celebrating 25 years in business, JES has helped over 70,000 homeowners since 1993.

JES Foundation Repair, together with the other Groundworks subsidiaries, operate out of eight offices that serve Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Georgia. JES has been named to the Fortune 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, Virginia Chamber of Commerce Fantastic 50, Inside Business Roaring Twenty and Best Places to Work. For more information about JES Foundation Repair, please visit www.jeswork.com

About the Awards – Virginia’s FANTASTIC 50 award program is a signature event of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Now in its 23rd year, the FANTASTIC 50 program is the only annual statewide award recognizing Virginia’s fastest growing business.

Nominations for the 2018 FANTASTIC 50 were sought last fall from local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and through the sponsors’ networks; companies may also nominate themselves.

To be eligible, a company must be privately held with headquarters in Virginia, show revenues between $200,000 and $200 million, and demonstrate positive revenue growth and positive net income in its most recent fiscal year over the previous year. Companies are judged on four-year revenue history. The professional service firm Dixon Hughes Goodman verifies all award entries.

The Fantastic 50 award program is sponsored by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Cox Communications, Inc., Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Dixon Hughes Goodman, J.P. Morgan Chase, the Westfields Marriott, SunTrust Bank, Virginia Business Magazine and the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

About the Virginia Chamber of Commerce
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the Commonwealth, with more than 26,000 members. The Chamber is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory, civic and judicial arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for Virginia.

In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. Learn more at www.vachamber.com.    

 

Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg expands to Stafford County

Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg (HOAF), a healthcare organization recognized for providing world-class cancer care in state-of-the-art facilities, is expanding its practice to a second location in Stafford County that will offer the same level of care and treatment for cancer patients across a wider range of the Northern Virginia region.

The 7,048 square-foot cancer care office, located at 125 Woodstream Boulevard in Stafford and scheduled to open on Monday, May 14, will be known as Hematology Oncology Associates of Fredericksburg at Stafford.

HOAF officials believe that the new location in Stafford County will have a positive impact on health outcomes throughout the Northern Virginia region by increasing access to cancer specialists and advanced cancer therapies.

“Many of the patients who currently come to our offices in Fredericksburg live in the rapidly-growing North Stafford area,” said Dr. Charles L. Maurer, president of HOAF. “We saw a need to help patients in Stafford County, as well as those in Prince William County and other localities along the I-95 corridor, stay closer to home for their appointments and treatments.”

When HOAF at Stafford opens, the six physicians in the Fredericksburg location will rotate to Stafford weekly. Also, there will be a dedicated nurse practitioner and staff to provide consistent, compassionate care for patients. The Stafford facility will offer the same leading-edge services that are available at the Fredericksburg office.

HOAF offers a full spectrum of comprehensive services to treat all forms of adult cancers. A snapshot listing of services includes:

• Hematology
• Medical Oncology
• Infusion
• Chemotherapy
• Iron Replacement
• Holistic Care
• In-house Physician Dispensary
• Surveillance Clinic

“By elevating the quality of care in North Stafford with our second location, we’re keeping patients and their families in the community,” said Dr. Maurer. “Our passion is our patients and we are deeply committed to supporting them every step of way on the journey to recovery.”

Dr. Maurer also noted that renovations to the existing office in Fredericksburg are underway, which will expand the research department and increase the size of the pharmacy, among other improvements. “These exciting initiatives align with HOAF’s long-term goals for future growth of the practice,” he concluded.

To learn more about HOAF and its capabilities for cancer care, visit hoafredericksburg.com.

Prince William police chief to continue community conversations in Lake Ridge

From a press release: 

Chief Barry Barnard of the Prince William County Police Department will host a “Conversation with the Chief” on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at Rockledge Elementary School located at 2300 Mariner Drive in Woodbridge beginning at 7:00PM.

We would like to extend an invitation to those who live in the community and the surrounding area to come out, meet the Chief, and engage in conversation. Chief Barnard will personally answer questions and discuss any topics of concern from residents. This is a wonderful opportunity for the community to get to know their Police Department and ask questions directly to the Chief and other police staff.

Members from the Police Department’s Crime Prevention Unit and recruiters will also be on hand to answer questions and provide useful information regarding safety tips, neighborhood watches, and employment opportunities for those interested in a career in law enforcement. The Chief plans to hold additional community engagement conversations at other locations across Prince William County this year.

We look forward to seeing you and having a productive discussion.

Code strokes are more common than you think. That’s why Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center is going to bat to raise stroke awareness.

Being early is ideal for a lot of things, but it can be a game-changer when it comes to a stroke.

The American Heart Association estimates someone in the U.S. has a stroke nearly once every 40 seconds.

These numbers don’t surprise the doctors, nurses, and staff in the Emergency Department (ED) at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. The ED is usually the gateway for Prince William County’s stroke patients.

“It’s an extremely rapid fire pace once a potential stroke patient arrives, time is brain,” explains Jessica Silcox, RN, MSN, ED Team Coordinator and founder of the hospital’s stroke team.

The team is just that and extends outside the hospital walls to Prince William County’s first responders.

“We look to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as being the green light for the whole thing. They can let us know before a patient gets here what we can expect,” explains Silcox.

That’s when a CODE STROKE is called. It alerts the teams, within Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, a possible stroke patient is on the way. In addition to the doctors and nurses in the Emergency Department, the alert signals to the teams in radiology (CAT scan) and a number of other departments, an emergent case is imminent.

“You lose two-million neurons a minute, so every minute, literally, does count when you’re talking about stroke,” says Silcox.

Time is of the essence when it comes to stroke. That’s why as soon as a stroke patient arrives at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, a specially certified team of nurses, a stroke coordinator and a stroke facilitator instantly take that patient to get a CAT scan. It’s at that point telemedicine is incorporated for expedited care.

“We have a machine we bring into CAT scan and the tele-neurologist can actually log on, wherever they are, and visualize that patient. They do an exam, speak to that patient. The technology is actually pretty advanced,” explains Silcox. “The tele-neurologists have cameras they can zoom in to the point they’re looking into a patient’s pupil to do an exam. That way the neurologist can determine quickly, if that patient is eligible for a clot-busting medication, or if another therapy is necessary.”

That’s why education is vital. Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, along with the Potomac Nationals, will be teaming up again this year for the Strike Out Stroke event.

“This event has been a huge success,” exclaims Kim Houser, RN, the new coordinator of the stroke team. “This is a huge community-based project to raise awareness and educate through a fun night. People can come out and support the community and those touched by stroke.”

This year’s event is happening on May 5 at Potomac National’s Richard Pfitzner Stadium.

Remember STROKE is an Emergency. Every minute counts. ACT F.A.S.T.

  • Face: Face drooping, Does one side of the face droop when smiling?
  • Arm: Arm Weakness, Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift down?
  • Speech: Speech Difficulty, Is speech slurred or strange?
  • Time: Time to Call 9-1-1. If you observe any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

This week is devoted to infertility awareness

For millions of women, it’s an issue they’re all too familiar with and it’s something they deal with every day.

April 22-28 is designated National Infertility Awareness Week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving, that’s 15% of American couples.

It’s something Dr. Richard Jenet, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Women’s Health Center at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center and practicing physician at About Women OB/GYN, sees too often.

“We often times have to really calm people down. People get really anxious if they try for one month and haven’t gotten pregnant,” he explains.

Dr. Jenet says when a patient comes to him wanting to start a family, he starts with the basics – getting blood work and taking both general and reproductive histories.

“We talk about some healthy life choices and have people try to get pregnant on their own. Unless there’s something obvious, we don’t talk about infertility until after a year of trying.”

Most couples get pregnant within that year, but if not, Jenet starts looking at other factors, “Several items are taken into account: age, weight, health conditions and lifestyle, just to name a few.”

If there are no obvious problems, Dr. Jenet says that’s when a reproductive endocrinologist is recommended to help pinpoint the issue.

But, Jenet says the advances in medicine, over his nearly 30 years in practice, allow women more alternatives than ever before, “There are more medications. There are more treatments. There are a lot more options.” And, that means more hope for women trying to get pregnant.

To learn more about OB/GYN or endocrinology services near you, call 1-800-SENTARA or go to sentara.com.

Roofing contractors in our region are backlogged thanks to March wind storm

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How an organ donation from a 25-year-old man gave Dan Nickloy as second-chance ‘miracle’ at life he’ll never forget

More than 115,000 men, women, and children sit on the transplant list, waiting for a miracle.

On average, 22 people die each day because the organs they need are not donated in time.  

Over the years, Diane Nickloy has cared for a number of those patients in her role as an Intensive Care Unit Nurse and Unit Coordinator at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center. But, it was almost four years ago, roles were reversed when Diane learned her husband, Dan was in desperate need.

“My husband got sick very quickly,” remembers Diane, “Our daughter was getting married in May of that year and decided we needed to get healthy so that we’d look good in our tux and our dress. Dan hadn’t been to the doctors in 15 years, so he said, ‘I’m going to make an appointment and go,’ and he did. While he wasn’t feeling sick or anything, the doctor discovered an atrial flutter or abnormal heart rhythm. From there, the doctor decided to do lab work as a precaution. When the labs came back days later, it showed Dan had an abnormal liver function.”

Dan, who was just 61 at the time, went from feeling a little tired to dealing with a major health crisis.

“Once I had my diagnosis, my disease progressed rapidly,” remembers Dan. “I learned very early that transplant was the only cure. My first thought was I was going to die early and I wasn’t ready. I had a lot to do in life and I was going to miss out,” he said.

That May, Dan was able to walk his only daughter down the aisle at her wedding, but soon after he was admitted to the hospital.

“I was getting sicker. I didn’t think I was ever coming home, and prepared to say my goodbyes,” he remembers. “Then, one night the doctor came in, put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Mr. Nickloy, we have a liver. Are you ready to go?’”

Dan says that today, July 17, 2014, marks a miracle and the second chapter in his life.  

The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) says that’s what it’s all about.

“Organ donation means lives saved!” explains Valerie Schneider, Media Relations and Communications Manager for WRTC, “For every organ donor, there’s the potential to save eight lives. For those waiting on the transplant list, there’s nothing more meaningful than the gift of life.”

In the DC metropolitan area, with thousands of people are on the transplant list, only about 67% of the adult population are registered as donors. One reason could be the myth that donors won’t receive the same level of care should they be injured or come to the hospital.

“When someone passes, they are evaluated by a highly skilled team to determine their donation capability. Nobody is ruled out for donation because of age, race, or social status; the medical evaluation determines the donation potential,” says Schneider.

The Nickloy family doesn’t know much about the person whose gift made Dan’s life possible, only that he was 25-years-old and killed in an automobile accident. While Dan has asked to meet the donor’s family, they haven’t taken him up on his request.

He just wants them to know how grateful he really is.

“I feel I was part of a miracle,” he says. “My only regret is I never got to meet the family who made the selfless act to donate their loved one’s organ in their time of grief, so I could live a better, fuller life.”

That fuller life includes the birth of his grandson, Brooks. While the donation of a liver, Dan wouldn’t have been alive to meet him.

It’s a gift he doesn’t take for granted.

“Today I feel great. I’m 65 and have more energy than I ever did. I have a positive outlook. I have changed my diet, I don’t smoke or drink. I don’t take a moment here on earth for granted. I make sure I spend time with family and friends, you never know what the future holds,” says Dan.

Dan also shares his experience with organ donation to raise awareness. He encourages people to become donors themselves.

“Organ donation is a gift to others that allows their life to go on. I want donor families to know that your generous decision to donate your loved ones’ organ will be received with dignity and respect.”

To learn more and to register to become a donor go to BeADonor.org.

Tour four beautiful homes at the Clifton Homes Tour for Charity

The Clifton Community Woman’s Club will host the 46th Annual Clifton Homes Tour and Silent Auction on Friday, May 18. Tour: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Silent Auction: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Clifton Presbyterian Church. Proceeds benefit the Club’s 501(c)(3) Charitable Trust and are distributed to local scholarships and charities.

The Tour offers guided tours of four beautiful homes in Clifton. Visitors can tour a farmhouse built in 1900 with furniture and antiques specific to Virginia. In another home, bold colors and true Williamsburg style combine to create a fun family atmosphere. A third home balances natural elements and 18th-century proportion. A fourth home is a Georgian hilltop manor with Virginia-made furniture and original artwork.

Free guided tours are offered for two historic churches: Clifton Baptist Church (1910) and Clifton Primitive Baptist Church (1871). Other events with free admission include a Silent Auction, Trinkets and Treasures, and wreath sale at the Clifton Presbyterian Church.

Tour tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 at local businesses: in Manassas at Flower Gallery; in Clifton at Adler’s Art & Frame, Belle Jar Design, and Hydrangea of Clifton; in Centreville at Banner’s Hallmark; in Burke at Five Star Hair, The Picket Fence, and The Yarn Barn; in Fairfax at Twinbrook Floral Design. Tickets are also available online for $30 at cliftoncwc.org or at Clifton Presbyterian Church (12748 Richards Ln, Clifton, VA 20124) the day of the tour.

Please visit cliftoncwc.org or contact Kay at kaygilbert@cox.net for more information.

We need a freelance community reporter

We’re seeking a freelance reporter who has a passion for community and who isn’t afraid to pick up the phone, use email, or dig on the web to get details.

Our ideal writer will be familiar with the Prince William County, Virginia region to include the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

They will be able to write about local government, schools, business, events and features.

Much if not all of the writing can be completed while working from home.

Experience gained while writing for a community news publication is preferred but not required.

Interested?

Send your resume, links to three of your best articles, and contact info to Uriah Kiser.

 

Business leaders, entrepreneurs to provide an interactive experience which will prepare participants to create/grow ventures successfully

CenterFuse and Innovate Manassas is set to launch the first LaB Bootcamp 101.

The boot camp starts May 2 and runs until July 25.

The Bootcamp is held every other Wednesday evening doors open at 6:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. The cost for the eight-session program is $200.

The program is ideal for those individuals in a home based business or any startup including those in the idea phase. Any people with the passion, vision, and insight to start and grow a business.

The LaB Bootcamp offers assistance and training in:

• Challenges and opportunities for new and growing ventures
• Innovative marketing
• Business Concepts and ideas
• Legal considerations
• Sustainability
• Financing the business
• Accounting
• Fundamentals and operations
• Using technology & social media
• Intellectual Property
• …and much more!

The LaB Bootcamp is a series of intensive education sessions designed to help entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs develop the skills necessary to create successful, growth-oriented businesses.

A team of business leaders and guest entrepreneurs provide an interactive experience which will prepare participants to create/grow ventures successfully. Attendees also receive one-on-one consulting assistance.

Focused, intense, and packed with useful material, LaB Bootcamp is tailored to aspiring entrepreneurs, helping them answer the following questions:

• What is a good business concept?
• How can I determine if my business idea is a good one?
• Do I really need a business plan and, if so, how can I write a great one?
• What do I need to know about my customers and the market, and how can I get answers?
• Where do I get financing?
• How do I make sense of the numbers and which numbers really matter?
• What is a business model, and does my business model make sense?
• What is guerrilla marketing? Are there ways to do more with marketing while spending less?
• What does it really take to succeed in business by myself?
• Where do I go to get the information I need to organize my new business?

A team of experienced business leaders all successful entrepreneurs work with participants, introducing ideas and concepts, and showing you how to apply them to a current or potential business. At the end of the eight sessions, participants will have completed a business plan and have the opportunity to pitch their idea and plan to a group of potential investors.

Potomac Local Parent of the Month: Carrie

Potomac Local Parents is a monthly column that looks at life through the eyes of real parents. This month, we interview Carrie.

What time you do wake up?

5:45am

What are your children’s names and ages?

Four boys: Quentin 14, Christian 13, Xavier 10 and Brandon 7.

What’s the most difficult part about your morning routine?

Getting the kids out the door for school! It’s hardest to get the kids up in the morning (multiple attempts), share the bathroom (they lock their brothers out) and get them to bus stops on time. They have three separate bus stop times. Our mornings are chaos!

What is your morning beauty or grooming routine?

Shower. Luckily, I work from home.

Are you a coffee or tea person?

Coffee. If I’m lucky I can make a cup of coffee before I start work.  

What do you do once the kids are in school?

I have run a small daycare for the last sixteen years. I watch four kids, all two and three-year-olds.I have my first dropoff for childcare right after my oldest two leave. By the time my third and fourth go to school, I have all my daycare kids here.

What is the biggest challenge of trying to get work done – any work – with your schedule and responsibilities?

Lots! Juggling projects and activities for all the children. Having a 12-hour workday. All four of my sons play travel sports, too.

What do you wear during the work week?

Scrubs

What’s the craziest thing that happened to you so far this week?

I had a much needed, impromptu day off on Monday. I didn’t take off, but I had two kids on vacation for spring break, and the other two called out. It’s very rare! I went to the gym with my oldest two sons and took them out to lunch for some quality time.

Do you have pets?

Yes – two dogs, two cats and a rabbit, all rescues.

How do you get through the hard times?

Staying busy, organizing and lots of caffeine!

What’s your favorite color?

Lavender

What kind of car do you drive?

Mom minivan – Town and Country, and I love it!

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Lion, because he’s king of the jungle.   

 

Sentara Heart & Vascular Center introduces new minimally invasive technique for atrial fibrillation

WOODBRIDGE — On Monday, April 2, 2018, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center ushered in a new level of care with the introduction of left-sided pulmonary vein ablation. The Sentara Heart & Vascular Team, led by Dr. Aysha Arshad, Medical Director of Electrophysiology, performed the first of its kind procedure for the hospital.

“This is wonderful for our community,” says Dr. Arshad. “This means the beginning of more complex procedures in the Electrophysiology Lab here at Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, which opens up these vital services to members of our community. They won’t have to travel long distances for care because our highly experienced staff and physicians are the same that are working in all the top hospital centers in the area.”

Left-side pulmonary vein ablation or pulmonary vein isolation is used to treat Atrial Fibrillation, also known as AFib. AFib is a type of heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat that an estimated seven million Americans live with every day.

In atrial fibrillation, disorganized electrical signals originate in the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, causing the rhythm to be irregular. Because the contractions are not coordinated as in a normal heartbeat, the heart does not pump blood effectively to the rest of the body causing patients to experience a racing or quivering heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath and often feel tired.

People with AFib have a five times greater risk for stroke. 

After living with the condition for three-years, Woodbridge resident Claudia Warszawski, was looking for relief.

“I’m a very active 67-year-old. I walk three days a week at the mall and I just couldn’t keep up my pace. I’d have to stop and it was irritating,” said Warszawski.

After consulting with the grandmother of five and reviewing her history, Dr. Arshad shared she was a perfect candidate for the procedure. 

As the Electrophysiology program at Sentara Heart & Vascular Center has grown, so have the services. Left-sided ablation is the latest advancement of the program. In ablation, areas of tissue in the heart that cause arrhythmias are destroyed. 

“In left-sided procedures, where AFib comes from, it involves tackling circuits on the left side of the heart. There’s no natural passage to the left side of the heart, so we enter through a vein in the leg and travel to the chest where we make a tiny puncture in the interatrial septum with a small needle and pass a catheter through that tiny hole to the left side of the heart. From there we create a 3D map of the heart and get to the circuits that cause AFib,” explains Dr. Arshad.

After the procedure is completed and the catheter removed, the tiny hole heals on its own over the next four weeks. A chip, implanted in the chest at the time of the procedure, allows real-time monitoring of the patient.

“It’s the whole advent of real-time telemedicine,” explains Dr. Arshad, “The device will track her rhythm all day and at night transcribe it into a report, which will be emailed to me that evening. The device downloads all that data so I’ll know how she’s going to do long-term.”

As for Warszawski, days after her procedure she’s already feeling better, “This gives me a new lease to live the life I want before I was tired and always had heart palpitations and flutters. Now, I can’t even feel my heart beating, and that’s a good thing!”

If you’re experiencing a racing, fluttering, pounding or irregular heartbeat, don’t ignore those symptoms, find a healthcare provider at 1-800-SENTARA or Sentara.com to schedule your exam.   

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