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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Residents at the Navy’s Negishi housing area in Yokohama will no longer receive primary health care at the area branch clinic after Aug. 13, Navy officials announced Thursday.

In a letter to residents, U.S. Navy Hospital Yokosuka commander Capt. Kevin Moore cited short-term staffing shortages caused by support for overseas missions.

The hospital is deploying nearly 70 of its medical providers throughout the world in the summer and fall, Moore said. Meanwhile, the officer-in-charge at the clinic on Negishi is concluding her tour of duty in Japan.

Until Aug. 13, the Negishi clinic will offer primary care appointments on Mondays and Fridays. After that, the approximately 750 residents at Negishi will be asked to visit the main hospital at Yokosuka Naval Base, which is about an hour away.

The Negishi clinic will continue offering emergency ambulance services to anyone who dials 911 on base, officials said.

“Actions such as this are not taken lightly,” Moore wrote. “We have carefully reviewed and exhausted all possible options before finalizing this decision.”

The Negishi clinic had operated at as low as 25 percent of its patient capacity, hospital spokesman Ben Avey said.

The hospital isn’t ruling out reopening the clinic to primary care, but has no timetable for doing so.

“We are always re-evaluating what the needs of our beneficiaries are and how to best serve those needs,” Avey said.

slavine@pstripes.osd.mil

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