CIRS Mold Toxicity Treatment in Newington, VA
Experiencing mold toxicity is a terrifying thought for most people. Although it may seem like an interesting concept for a medical drama, nobody wants to experience the effects of mold exposure firsthand.
Mold is a fungus that thrives in wet environments, such as under tiles, wood floors, and ceilings, pipes, and roofs. While several types of mold exist, some are more hazardous than others, and some individuals may be allergic or sensitive to mycotoxins, the toxins that mold naturally produces. Exposure to excessive amounts of mold, or the types of mold that trigger health problems, can lead to mold toxicity and even CIRS - Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. This acute and chronic systemic inflammatory response syndrome is typically acquired after exposure to mold or other producers of biotoxins, usually from damaged water buildings.
If you believe that you're suffering from mold toxicity or mold illness, it can seem like the world is folding in on you. No matter what you do, your symptoms persist, lowering your quality of life and eliminating your peace of mind. Fortunately, there is reason to be hopeful: Proactive Wellness Centers now offers a research-backed, highly effective mold illness poisoning treatment in Newington, VA for men and women just like yourself and your children as well if they have been impacted.
CIRS and Mold Toxicity
CIRS and mold illness are on the rise, and accurate diagnosis of the issue plays a major role in this trend. Thanks to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, there is a huge body of evidence that covers diagnosing and treating patients with CIRS. Dr. Lawson is one of less than 30 practitioners in the United States that are fully certified by Dr. Shoemaker for diagnosing and treating CIRS. The body of evidence by Shoemaker and many associates is the largest body of scientific evidence that is published in major medical journals. Around 80% of CIRS/Mold cases are caused by indoor air contaminated with mold toxins and other triggers. However, it's important to note that CIRS can also be caused by biotoxin producers such as cyanobacteria and a marine dinoflagellate that produces the Ciguatera toxin found in certain types of fish.
When mold or biotoxins are not processed effectively, a series of biochemical changes known as the Biotoxin Pathway occur. Genetic studies have revealed that approximately 24% of individuals have a genetic makeup that makes them susceptible to developing an illness related to mold or biotoxins. The remaining 76% of the population can typically eliminate these toxins from their system and avoid the development of the Biotoxin Pathway that can lead to various diseases.
CIRS and Mold Poisoning Misdiagnosis
CIRS and mold exposure symptoms overlap with many other chronic illnesses, which makes diagnosis challenging and can even lead to missed diagnosis of CIRS. Based on research from Proactive Wellness Centers, CIRS is frequently misdiagnosed. Some of the most common misdiagnoses include:
- Chronic Pain Syndrome
- Parkinson's Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Lyme disease, in particular, is often misdiagnosed. We have treated a number of patients whose symptoms were in line with Lyme disease. Fortunately, we were able to confirm the presence of CIRS and mold and were able to successfully help those patients using CIRS treatment in Newington, VA.
Note that many of these patients have CIRS and Lyme disease and in that case, it is necessary to treat both in order for full recovery. Treating one or the other will invariably leave the patient with debilitating symptoms and even more frustration with their medical team. At Proactive Wellness Centers, we are skilled In diagnosing and treating both.
CIRS and Mold Poisoning Symptoms
If you're reading this page, chances are you're concerned that you might have CIRS or some form of mold poisoning. You may be wondering what you have - is it CIRS, or is it something else like Lyme disease? We can't provide the answer to that question without consultation and testing at our wellness center in Virginia. However, there are common symptoms of CIRS and mold toxicity you should know.
Some of the most common symptoms of CIRS include:
- Decreased Word Finding
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Morning Stiffness
- Excessive Thirst
- Night Sweats
- Frequent Urination
- Mood Swings
Proactive Wellness Centers'
Tools for Diagnosing Mold Sickness and CIRS
Identifying and confirming if a patient is being impacted by CIRS and identifying the cause and source of the biotoxin are the two main steps in diagnosing CIRS and Mold Exposure. To diagnose CIRS and Mold Exposure, the following diagnostic tools are commonly used:
Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test
A positive result from this screening test tells us with a high probability that you have a biotoxin illness
These may include MSH, TGF Beta 1, C43a, MMP9, ADH and Osmolality, ACTH and Cortisol, Leptin, and other tests as needed based on individual presentation.
MRI Scanning with NeuroQuant Technology
This software-based diagnostic tool helps us distinguish CIRS from Lyme disease by measuring the brain volumes of specific brain structures. Studies have identified a unique signature in CIRS patients that sets them apart from Lyme patients, and this test can reveal that signature.
"GENIE" (Genomic expression: Inflammation Explained)!
After ten years in concept and three years in development and validation, the application of transcriptomics to confirm hypometabolism is available. Based on the work of James Ryan, PhD, for the first time we can use differential gene expression to tell us about abnormalities in gene functioning in illnesses characterized by chronic fatigue.
Understanding the gene expression lets us use targeted therapies based on our published, peer-reviewed work.
Contact our office to learn more about how genomics testing helps diagnose CIRS and mold poisoning.
Environment Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI):
This is a test of your home or office that you suspect to be the source of the mold exposure. It involves a specialized DNA-based technique utilized to measure the number of mold species present in a given environment, such as a residence or workplace. This methodology is employed to identify the source of biotoxins that the individual is being exposed to, as well as to determine the type and severity of mold species present in the environment.
The advantage of ERMI over other forms of testing is that ERMI provides us with an easy to understand overall "score" that determines mold burden in the home. When we combine this with Shoemaker's research, we can then determine if the mold burden in the home/office is too much for you.
To learn more about the debilitating symptoms of mold sickness and to find out whether you have CIRS or something else, contact Proactive Wellness Centers. Our team of medical professionals is here to help you every step of the way.
To learn more about the debilitating symptoms of mold sickness and to find out whether you have CIRS or something else, contact Proactive Wellness Centers. Our team of medical professionals is here to help you every step of the way.
Hope for Patients with CIRS: Proactive Wellness Centers' Mold Illness Treatment in Newington, VA
Our approach to treating CIRS utilizes integrative and functional medicine, The Shoemaker Protocol along with the latest evidence-based approaches to treating mold illness and the related secondary issues that it causes. We begin by utilizing advanced diagnostics to confirm the presence of the condition and identify the specific environment causing continued exposure to biotoxins. Next, we take a stepwise approach to halt the progression of the disease, eliminate biotoxins from the body, and reverse any damage to cellular structures. Our goal is to help patients achieve a full recovery.
To do this, we not only have to identify the primary condition like CIRS or Lyme disease, but we then have to continue looking to see if you have any of the common secondary conditions like reactivated EBV, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), and others. Once we understand the totally of your condition, then we can implement a treatment plan tailored for you. Yes, it will leverage the Shoemaker protocol, but we have found that we have to extend the protocol to cover the secondary issues that we uncover.
The steps we follow to reach that goal include:
- TGF Beta 1
- Androgen Imbalance
- Black Pepper
Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, and Chronic Pain Syndrome are examples of illnesses that are often diagnosed without such confirmatory tests. If you are experiencing unexplained health issues or have been exposed to water-damaged buildings, it is possible that you are suffering from CIRS or a mold illness.
The good news is that we can diagnose and address this disease with a mold illness treatment program in Newington, VA tailored to your body and your symptoms. That way, we can help you regain your health as soon as possible.
Be Wary of These
5 Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Mold spores can easily be brought into your home on your shoes or clothing or through open windows or doors. If these spores can find a warm, damp, humid environment, they can begin to multiply. Soon, your home can be filled with toxic mold. If you think mold has invaded your home or another environment, like in an office or warehouse, it's important for you to know about the symptoms.
Unfortunately, diagnosing mold issues can be exceptionally difficult. But why? The answer can be quite frustrating.
Understanding the Difficulty of Diagnosing Mold Symptoms
Many doctors fail to recognize the impact of mycotoxins emitted by certain indoor mold species, which can lead to chemical and inflammatory reactions. While conventional medicine acknowledges that mold can cause allergies, it may overlook this crucial aspect of mold-related health issues.
This can happen for several reasons:
- Standardized treatment protocols for mold toxicity are offered mostly by Functional/Integrative physicians as the conventional physicians are not on board despite over 20 years of published research. Due to this issue, patients spend precious months/years going from doctor to doctor in the conventional channel with no answers.
- Though ERMI testing has been accepted in the integrative/functional medical community, there isn't a "gold standard" in mold testing that is universally accepted.
- Mold symptoms can manifest in vastly different ways depending on the patient.
After understanding the points above, it's no wonder that mold poisoning can be hard to diagnose. Fortunately, integrative and functional holistic medicine providers and wellness centers like Proactive Wellness are flipping the proverbial script. Unlike traditional clinics, our team considers environmental factors that can affect patient health and has advanced training to provide mold poisoning treatment in Newington, VA.
Now that you understand why mold symptoms are so hard to diagnose let's take a closer look at five of the most common indicators of mold sickness.
Fatigue is probably the number one symptom of well over 90% of CIRS patients. The level of fatigue varies from 5 on a 10 point scale all the way to 10 on a 10 point scale. Many patients can no longer work or remain productive as in the worst cases, the fatigue is overwhelming. College students living in moldy dorms frequently have to drop out of school until the illness is treated effectively. Older adults have to retire or stop working due the fatigue. If you have overwhelming fatigue, CIRS may be a major contributor to your illness.
Exposure to mold can cause a host of respiratory problems, such as breathing difficulties, allergies, and asthma, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system. Mold can worsen asthma, irritate the nasal passages, lungs, and throat, and lead to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and nasal congestion. Other health issues such as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, sinus congestion, allergic rhinitis, asthma, and allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis have also been associated with mold sickness.
Sadness and Depression
Mold can cause a variety of illnesses that can show up in different ways, such as psychological symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, concentration problems, and memory loss. It has been reported that nearly 40% of people who live in moldy homes experience depression. Researchers suggest that exposure to toxic mold and dealing with the physical symptoms of mold illness can contribute to mental health issues.
Due to this phenomenon, many mold patients are given antidepressant medications in the conventional channels.
Feeling "Pins and Needles"
Numbness, twitching, or tingling in the extremities, such as hands, feet, legs, and arms, is another symptom of mold illness. The sensation is similar to pins and needles, which are often felt when the body is held in an uncomfortable position for a long time. While this sensation can indicate serious nerve damage or disease, it can also be a symptom of mold sickness.
Digestion Problems and Disorders
When exposed to mold, individuals may experience various digestive problems. Some may lose their appetite, leading to unintentional weight loss. Others may suffer from stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Furthermore, the influx of mold spores may trigger systemic inflammation, causing bloating and weight gain due to the digestive system's exposure to harmful mold.
Top Tips for
Controlling Mold in Your Environment
It's not possible to completely eliminate all mold and mold spores from your home or place of work. However, since mold spores need moisture to grow, the best way to prevent or get rid of growth is to reduce the moisture in your environment. If you already have mold growing there, it's important to clean it up and address the issue causing dampness. If you only clean up the mold and don't address the underlying problem, the mold is likely to return.
Here are some tips to help reduce moisture throughout your home or office:
- Use A/C or Dehumidifiers. This is especially important if you live in a hot, humid area of the United States.
- Ensure A/C drip pans are clean, dry, and obstruction-free.
- Thoroughly dry areas that are damp or wet within 48 hours.
- Be sure to install insulation in cold areas like your home's exterior walls and windows. Doing so will reduce condensation.
- Work with an HVAC company to check your HVAC system. Doing so can help ensure your unit is removing as much humidity as possible.
- Keep the humidity in your home below 60% whenever possible.
Here are some tips to help reduce moisture in your kitchen:
- Check for leaks near your ice makers, sinks, and anywhere else water is present.
- Make sure your exhaust fans are directing moisture outside, not into your attic.
- If you notice your appliances are causing moisture on windows and other surfaces, turn them off as soon as you're done using them.
Here are some tips to help reduce moisture in crawlspaces:
- Use a plastic covering on the dirt in your crawlspace. Doing so will prevent moisture from saturating the ground.
- Ensure that your crawlspace or basement is ventilated well.
- Check your home's gutters. Make sure they're directing water away from your property, not toward your foundation or crawlspace.
Your Top Choice for
Mold Toxicity Treatment in Newington, VA
Trying to "tough it out" through life with CIRS isn't any way to live. If you're suffering from the effects of biotoxin illness, you should know that there are solutions available to help you reclaim your health and your life. With the help of a can-do attitude, healthy living, and mold illness treatment from Proactive Wellness, there's light at the end of the dark tunnel you're trapped within. Contact our office today to get started on your first step toward recovery!
Latest News in Newington, VA
Costco Buys Office Building In Newington From Bethesda-Based Finmarc
Kingstowne-Rose Hill, VA Patchhttps://patch.com/virginia/kingstowne/costco-buys-office-building-newington-bethesda-based-finmarc
SPRINGFIELD, VA — Costco Wholesale has acquired a two-story office building next to one of its retail stores in Newington from Finmarc Management Inc., a commercial real estate investment firm based in Bethesda, for $6.55 million, Finmarc said Tuesday.The 27,000-square-foot building, at 7375 Boston Boulevard in Newington, is located next to the Costco Wholesale retail store at 7373 Boston Boulevard.Finmarc bought the two-story building in June 2022 as p...
SPRINGFIELD, VA — Costco Wholesale has acquired a two-story office building next to one of its retail stores in Newington from Finmarc Management Inc., a commercial real estate investment firm based in Bethesda, for $6.55 million, Finmarc said Tuesday.
The 27,000-square-foot building, at 7375 Boston Boulevard in Newington, is located next to the Costco Wholesale retail store at 7373 Boston Boulevard.
Finmarc bought the two-story building in June 2022 as part of an 11-building acquisition consisting of about 740,000 square feet of office, industrial and data center space on Boston Boulevard. Finmarc paid Boston Properties Inc. $127.5 for the buildings, known as the VA 95 portfolio.
The two-story building, located on a 2.81-acre site, was vacant at the time of the sale to Costco, Finmarc said.
"Part of our decision when acquiring the VA 95 portfolio last summer was our belief of the strong opportunity to strategically sell certain buildings parcels for higher and better uses," Finmarc Co-Founder and Principal David Fink said in a statement Tuesday. "The building parcel situated adjacent to the existing Costco perfectly matched that profile and represents our first opportunity to execute this thesis."
"The ability for Costco to expand its footprint makes perfect business sense in their continuing mission to find better and more efficient ways to provide best-in-class services to its members," Fink said.
Costco did not disclose its plans for the building or parcel at the closing of the deal, Finmarc said.
The building on Boston Boulevard is less than two miles from a site on Loisdale Road in Springfield under consideration by the General Services Administration for the new FBI headquarters.
"Generally speaking, the government's presence in the area is a great benefit to the buildings we own," Finmarc said in a statement emailed to Patch. "The portfolio sits adjacent to NASA and Department of State and Customs Borders lease properties on Boston Boulevard. An FBI headquarters would enhance our ability to lease in the future."
Finmarc’s VA 95 portfolio consists of single-story and two-story buildings ranging from 27,000 to 105,000 square feet of space, and are situated close to Fort Belvoir, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Marine Corps Base Quantico.
The government presence in the area has helped produce record low vacancies for industrial real estate in the area, the company noted. No new buildings are currently under construction in the area, and no new commercial office buildings have been built in the Newington and Springfield market over the past six years, according to Finmarc.
"We believe well-located and best-in-class flex/office and industrial buildings situated in the outer ring suburbs will continue to flourish, and we remain extremely confident in the long-term economic fundamentals of the Springfield and Northern Virginia submarket," the company said.
Regional food bank seeks to double capacity with expanded Newington warehouse
(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 5/24/2023) Construction has begun on a new warehouse for the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) in the Newington area.The organization, which supports nonprofits and provides meals to residents throughout the D.C. region, broke ground on the 43,00...
(Updated at 10:25 a.m. on 5/24/2023) Construction has begun on a new warehouse for the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) in the Newington area.
The organization, which supports nonprofits and provides meals to residents throughout the D.C. region, broke ground on the 43,000-square-foot distribution facility at 6833 Hill Park Drive, Lorton, on May 15.
Expected to more than double CAFB’s capacity in Northern Virginia, the new warehouse replaces a smaller building on the same site that the food bank says “no longer had the size or efficiencies required to address the area’s rising need.”
“Building an expanded facility in Northern Virginia couldn’t come at a more important time: in the wake of the pandemic and sustained rates of inflation, there are still so many in our community who are struggling to make ends meet and to access enough nutritious food,” CAFB President and CEO Radha Muthiah said. “This building is an investment in the future of thousands of Northern Virginians, both today and in the years to come.”
About 24% of Fairfax County residents reported experiencing food insecurity in 2021, putting it on the lower end of a spectrum that ranged from 21% in Arlington County to 48% in Prince George’s County, according to CAFB’s 2022 Hunger Report.
Expected to be released this September, the next hunger report could tell an even more sobering story after a year of inflation and diminishing public assistance. As of February, food prices were 10% higher than that time last year, CAFB said in its annual report, and the end of emergency SNAP benefits placed new pressure on local food banks.
(Correction: This article previously said the next hunger report is expected this summer. While last year’s report came out in June, CAFB says this year’s will likely be published in September, coinciding with Hunger Action Month.)
Capital Area Food Bank distributed nearly three times as many meals in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic as in the preceding year, Fairfax County leaders said last year. In February 2022, the county’s Board of Supervisors approved a $5 million contribution from its federal Covid relief funds to support to the food bank’s warehouse expansion.
CAFB projects that the project will cost a total of $35 million, which it hopes to cover with both public and private funding. So far, seven localities and Virginia have invested over $9 million, and Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Rep. Gerry Connolly, have requested federal Community Project Funding.
“The new 43,000 square-foot facility will be nearly 3.5 times larger than the existing building, allowing the food bank to store and distribute more produce, provide more space for its partner nonprofits to pick up food, and offer volunteering opportunities at its Virginia warehouse for the first time,” CAFB said in a press release.
In addition to hosting a new volunteer center, the warehouse will be larger and more flexible with updated equipment compared to the previous building, which was built in 1982.
The old warehouse’s cooler and storage space had become inadequate, and maintenance was “cost-prohibitive,” CAFB said.
The new building is expected to be completed by late summer 2024.
CAFB isn’t the only local food assistance nonprofit to seek a capacity boost recently. Food for Others opened an addition to its Merrifield warehouse in February that allows clients to shop for groceries.
CAFB distributes more than 50 million meals across the D.C. region annually, according to its website. The organization’s main distribution facility is in northeast D.C.
Fallen power lines cause massive backup on I-95 at Fairfax County Parkway; strands drivers for hours
Interstate 95 in Newington, Virginia, experienced a major disruption today when a power line fell across the highway, leading to its closure for several hours. The incident, which caused significant inconvenience for motorists, is currently under investigation to determine the cause.According to Dominion Energy, the power line may have been struck by landscaping equipment, resulting in its snap. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is also looking into the possibility of their own crew's involvement. Immediate danger was p...
Interstate 95 in Newington, Virginia, experienced a major disruption today when a power line fell across the highway, leading to its closure for several hours. The incident, which caused significant inconvenience for motorists, is currently under investigation to determine the cause.
According to Dominion Energy, the power line may have been struck by landscaping equipment, resulting in its snap. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is also looking into the possibility of their own crew's involvement. Immediate danger was present on the scene, as a nearby gas station reported a fire, necessitating the activation of emergency shut-off measures. Scorch marks on the ground bear witness to the intensity of the incident.
Commuters voiced their frustration at the situation, describing it as another instance of the perennial traffic woes they endure. Eyewitnesses shared photos that captured the aftermath of the fallen power line, with one image showing a shattered windshield, suggesting that a driver may have been struck. Loreto Cruz, a producer at FOX 5, happened to be on the road during the incident and shared firsthand accounts and pictures.
Efforts to restore normalcy involved Dominion Power crews working diligently to de-energize the line, remove it, and reopen the affected stretch of Interstate 95. Throughout the process, crews closely examined the telephone pole in question in an attempt to shed light on the precise cause of the incident. A Dominion Energy spokesperson says it appears some landscaping equipment may have hit the post causing it to snap.
The closure of the interstate led to diverted traffic and subsequent congestion on nearby side roads. Compounding the issue, some traffic lights in the area were also out of operation, exacerbating the already challenging situation for drivers.
Motorists shared their disbelief at the unprecedented turn of events, with some forced to turn around on the interstate to find alternative routes. The magnitude of the disruption was especially striking for individuals unaccustomed to such traffic conditions, like Becky Zingler, who remarked on the extraordinary experience of traveling against the flow on the interstate.
Reflecting on the incident, Clint Van Winkle expressed his astonishment at the swift actions taken to redirect traffic once the need to change direction became apparent.
While power has been largely restored, plans for re-stringing the lines across the interstate are still being finalized. The investigation into the cause of the incident remains ongoing by VDOT, with authorities determined to uncover the exact circumstances that led to the power line's fall
Relocating Northampton VA hospital would make it nearly impossible for many impaired vets to receive essential medical care, advocates say
Will Katcher | WKatcher@masslive.comhttps://www.masslive.com/news/2022/03/relocating-northampton-va-hospital-would-make-it-nearly-impossible-for-many-impaired-vets-to-receive-essential-medical-care-advocates-say.html
For veterans across Western Massachusetts, the possible closure of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Northampton would cause hardship and create for some an almost insurmountable barrier to receiving basic, veteran-specific medical care.But for the mostly older, mostly medically-fragile veterans who have found stable housing near the hospital after struggling through addiction, physical disabilities and homelessness, the prospect of backyard medical care moving to Springfield or Connecticut — as recommended by federal offic...
For veterans across Western Massachusetts, the possible closure of the Veterans Affairs medical center in Northampton would cause hardship and create for some an almost insurmountable barrier to receiving basic, veteran-specific medical care.
But for the mostly older, mostly medically-fragile veterans who have found stable housing near the hospital after struggling through addiction, physical disabilities and homelessness, the prospect of backyard medical care moving to Springfield or Connecticut — as recommended by federal officials — presents an overwhelming obstacle, according to those who work closely with the former service members.
In a report detailed by MassLive last week and published Monday, the Department of Veterans Affairs recommended shuttering the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System in Northampton, one of just three medical centers it slotted for closure across the country. More than 24,000 veterans rely on the facility in the Leeds village of Northampton for medical care.
In the same building complex as the Northampton hospital is a residential community run by Soldier On, a nonprofit providing housing and support services to homeless veterans. For the 120 men and women living there, the proximity of their apartments to the VA is essential to receiving the care and liveable environment they need.
“These guys know that hospital is right there,” said Steven Connor, director of Central Hampshire Veterans’ Services. “All they have to do is walk down past Building 12, past the Rec Hall, and the next thing they know they’re in the medical facility.”
If needed, there are caseworkers minutes away at the hospital. Across North Main Street is the lush sanctuary of Look Memorial Park. For a veteran seeking a stable shelter, convenient medical care, and a calming setting, there are few better spots than Soldier On’s homes.
The organization — which also provides residences in Massachusetts in Agawam, Pittsfield and Chicopee — has 44 permanent housing units in Northampton filled with veterans who have faced homelessness in the past. It has an additional 76 transitional units, 16 of which are women-only, to assist veterans as they search for more stable housing. On any given night, 120 men and women who may otherwise be in a homeless shelter or without a roof over their heads sleep in the Soldier On buildings and rely on the hospital campus for its services, said Bruce Buckley, the nonprofit’s chief executive.
The VA facility, which opened in the early 1920s to care for veterans of World War I, is criticized as outdated. Federal officials recommended on Monday relocating nursing home care and rehabilitation programs to the VA hospital in Newington, Connecticut, while transferring outpatient and mental health services to a VA clinic in Springfield and community providers. The proposal is part of a nationwide modernization of the VA network, officials said.
But the closure of the VA hospital in Northampton — fully known as the Edward P. Boland VA Medical Center — is far from guaranteed. An independent, bipartisan commission will make its recommendations for the facility to President Joe Biden early next year. Federal officials, including Reps. Richard Neal and James McGovern, have pledged to fight to keep the hospital in Northampton.
If the VA closes, Soldier On’s residential community will not. The organization has decades remaining on its lease and no plans to leave the veterans without housing.
But the nonprofit chose the location because of its proximity to the services offered at the VA. If the hospital leaves, instead of walking a few minutes to a medical appointment, residents of Soldier On would be forced to shuttle to a doctor’s office in Springfield or Newington if they want veteran-specific care. Mental health and drug and alcohol treatment centers, now just a baseball’s throw away, would disappear from Northampton, Buckley said.
The VA recommended that community care providers absorb some of the services previously offered at the Northampton hospital, thus allowing veterans to still receive treatment near their homes.
But the U.S. Government Accountability Office said the VA lacked “a full understanding” of community care providers’ ability to supplement VA care, according to a report by the government watchdog released last week.
Former service members often prefer the care of the veteran-specific hospital, Connor said. The staff there are trained to understand the unique struggles war veterans face. Community doctor’s offices and urgent care facilities are not always trained to work with them, he said.
Many of the veterans living in permanent Soldier On housing are over age 55 and have been left with the physical and mental scars of war. They come from the streets and from the woods, from jails and from shelters.
“They’re vulnerable and to leave them up there alone for the next 40 years and in the unknown of what might go on on that campus ... We don’t want to see that campus close,” Buckley said. His organization built more than 40 permanent houses for veterans and dozens of temporary units on the VA campus because if the residents face a personal crisis, the hospital, its clinicians, caseworkers, therapists and security staff are there to assist.
“They’ll be somewhat in the middle of nowhere if the rest of the campus leaves,” Buckley said.
Should the hospital depart, and its services move to Springfield or Newington — a town on the far side of Hartford — the residents of Soldier On’s homes would ideally still have the extensive transportation support the organization offers: a fleet of more than a dozen vans to ferry them to appointments. But that is with the current service offered today, Buckley said. “Who knows what it looks like in 30 years? There is no guarantee that could last forever.”
In that case, the likely only option for a person needing a ride to an appointment would be the public bus.
In the past, veterans have struggled with multi-hour trips to reach treatment at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Connor said. What is normally a 20-minute ride by car can become a 90-minute trip on the PVTA. If medical services were sent to Springfield, the ride for the many veterans who do not drive could take two hours each way.
“That would be their day’s adventure,” Connor said. “Going to an appointment is going to take a whole day.”
Getting to Newington would prove nearly impossible without the help of a friend, family member or ride service. Physically-impaired veterans would need to walk a quarter-mile downhill to catch a PVTA bus to the center of Northampton — about a 20-minute ride. Another walk down the street would find them a Greyhound bus bound for New York, which 90 minutes later would arrive at Hartford’s Union Station. Then it’s another 15-minute bus ride and mile walk to the Newington Veterans Affairs Medical Center. All told, the trip would take three hours one-way.
Driving that far, to access medical care previously a walkable distance away, would take about an hour. But only about a half-dozen of the permanent residents of Soldier On own cars. Many do not have family support networks to shepherd them to the doctor’s office.
The residents of Soldier On have scaled tremendous personal cliffs to reach the point they are at now. They have battled back the physical and mental trauma of war, and many have been gripped by addiction that often can follow. In Soldier On, they have found stability and community with world-class medical care within eyesight. To lose that would be detrimental, Buckley said.
“It’s like you build an apartment in a little town and then the town disappears on you,” he said. “You’re just left with nothing around you.”
But those residents are not the only former service members who would have difficulty accessing services if they moved further away. Spread across the Pioneer Valley are veterans who have come to rely on the Northampton VA hospital and who have chosen to live nearby it.
Connor said many of the veterans in rural communities are reluctant to drive to the “big city” of Northampton for care. They are not going to want to drive to Newington, Boston or even to Springfield, he said.
When Connor needed treatment for a back injury several years ago, the nearest available VA chiropractor was in Newington. He went to only a few appointments before the trips became counterproductive. The doctor would help his pain, but by the time he drove an hour back north his back would again be in a knot.
State Sen. John Velis, of the 2nd Hampden and Hampshrie District, said he had heard similar concerns.
“I see it every day. The people who write these reports don’t take into account travel time,” Velis said. “For people in Western Mass., it’s not as simple as hopping on the goddamn T.”
County allocates $5M of Covid funds to Capital Area Food Bank expansion
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last week to allocate $5 million of coronavirus recovery funding to the Capital Area Food Bank to expand its Newington warehouse due to increased need.The project to build a 45,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost $35 million and take two years to complete. CAFB also sought funding from other private partners and the Northern Virginia...
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted last week to allocate $5 million of coronavirus recovery funding to the Capital Area Food Bank to expand its Newington warehouse due to increased need.
The project to build a 45,000-square-foot facility is expected to cost $35 million and take two years to complete. CAFB also sought funding from other private partners and the Northern Virginia local governments and communities they serve. Fairfax County is the first to make a formal announcement of funding, CAFB spokeswoman Hilary Salmon told FFXnow.
“We’re happy not only to invest in them but to keep them in Fairfax County as they had looked at relocating to other places,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said at the board’s meeting.
Located at 6833 Hill Park Drive, Lorton, CAFB distributed 27 million meals throughout Northern Virginia during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKay said. That was nearly triple the amount of the previous year. CAFB also serves Alexandria City, Arlington, and Prince William counties, as well as Fairfax City, Manassas, Manassas Park and Falls Church.
To keep up with the demand, the food bank had to double warehouse capacity through short-term leases.
The CAFB doesn’t anticipate demand will subside, and expects to distribute 8 million meals in Fairfax County this year. The expansion would increase square footage by nearly 400%, McKay said.
Thank you to Fairfax County for this incredible financial support, which will help us to expand the infrastructure needed to serve Northern Virginia.
CAFB expects to distribute 8 million meals this year in Fairfax County alone, and this support will help us meet that need. https://t.co/R9IMAJmWCf
— Capital Area Food Bank (@foodbankmetrodc) February 25, 2022
Lee District Supervisor Rodney Lusk said, over the last two years, over 3 million pounds of food had been provided to Lee and Mount Vernon district residents through food drops and distributions.
“Of that 3 million pounds, approximately 1.5 million has come from the Capital Area Food Bank,” he said. “So, this is a very needed thing in our area and what I’m hearing, which is almost unbelievable, is that there is still great need for food and we don’t see that basically truncating or dropping as a result of the change in the pandemic.”
In CFAB’s 2021 Hunger Report, a survey of more than 1,800 of its clients found that two-thirds of respondents visited a food pantry for the first time in the year prior to spring 2021. Nearly 90% of those respondents said their need for free food was a direct result of COVID-19.
The county expects to receive the American Rescue Plan Act funds it will allocate to the bank no sooner than spring, McKay said. The county is drafting an agreement to protect the funds if the project doesn’t move forward or if there are unexpected changes.