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LANDSTUHL, Germany — The military has broken ground on a new, first-of-its-kind women’s health clinic that will be the primary health care stop for women in the Kaiserslautern area.

The Women’s Care Center opened last July and operates from an older section of the hospital, but its staff hopes to move into a new wing at Landstuhl Regional Medical in about six months.

The $750,000 facility will provide nonsurgical care for thousands of women stationed at bases near the hospital. The new center is expected to reduce a lengthy waiting list for patients needing to get routine check-ups.

The center is believed be the first of its kind for the Army overseas and could be the model for other military health centers worldwide.

The new wing is expected to be “more female friendly,” said Air Force Maj. Elizabeth Decker, the center’s chief.

Although women’s health clinics are fairly common at civilian hospitals, the concept is relatively new in the military.

The new building will have nine exam rooms decorated with the type of color and style not often seen at most drab hospital wards. Exam tables will an extra feature: They’ll be heated.

The center also will include a sex-assault suite that will offer 24-hour care for victims. The room will be stocked with testing kits and provide a more comfortable alternative to going to the emergency room.

Sgt. 1st Class Richard Ortiz, the noncommissioned officer in charge and the only male on staff, said the new center will give women better access to health care and service.

For example, a woman with an abnormal Pap smear sometimes is referred to several other clinics for more testing. But with the women’s clinic, referrals won’t be necessary in most cases, Ortiz said.

“This (the center) is one more thing we can give to our patients here in Europe,” Ortiz said.

The center’s eight staff members are planning to add a registered nurse and receptionist this January to help handle patients, who in the past have had to go out into town to get check-ups.

The center currently sees between 40 and 50 patients a day.

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