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SEOUL — Servicemembers seeking medical care at Yongsan soon could find the process less sickening with an upcoming $2.75 million renovation at the Yongsan Health Clinic.

The renovation, which was to begin Friday, will double the number of exam rooms, laboratory and pharmacy space, and add a larger waiting room.

Yongsan outlying health clinics commander Lt. Col. Laurel Fields said the renovation is needed because the clinic does not meet modern medical standards for patient privacy, laboratory space or hallway size. The building — the primary acute-care provider to all servicemembers stationed at Yongsan — also has too few electrical outlets to run all of the clinic’s equipment.

The 10-month project also will make the clinic a healthier environment with asbestos removal and new plumbing, Fields said.

The current plumbing, Fields said, is based on an old Korean standard that doesn’t include p-traps — bends in the pipes that keep odors from coming back through the drain.

"When you’re walking into a facility, and you get the wafting odor of sewer gas, it really makes you wonder about the kind of care you’re getting," Fields said.

This is the first major renovation for the 49-year-old building since 1993, according to U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan spokesman Dave McNally.

During the renovations, the clinic will move to an unused ward on the first floor of Brian Allgood Army Community Hospital.

A new facility isn’t the only change servicemembers can expect to see in their health care, Fields said.

Sick call will no longer be "herd sick call," in which patients line up at the clinic at 6:30 a.m. to try to get an appointment later the same morning.

Instead, patients will call the clinic between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. to get an appointment beforehand. The number to make an acute-care appointment is DSN 737-3331.

Fields said the clinic is enlarging its staff — increasing the number of care providers from four to six and increasing the customer service staff from one to three.

Because the closure of the clinic will also mean the closure of the pharmacy that serves the optometry and dental clinics next door, prepackaged pain medicines have been prepared to spare patients a trip across post to the hospital, Fields said.

Audiology services will be very limited until April, Fields said, with priority being given to those on flight status, or in need of periodic health assessments and post-deployment physicals.


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