YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy’s Negishi branch medical clinic will reopen to primary care patients Feb. 1, easing the burden on families who drove an hour each way to Yokosuka to receive medical care after staffing shortages forced the clinic’s closure earlier this year.

The clinic will only be open for appointments on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., according to officials at U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka, which oversees the Yokohama-based Negishi branch. Although the clinic was open full-time prior to closing, historical data showed that the new two-day schedule should be enough to accommodate the demand for appointments among the roughly 750 residents living in the Negishi Housing area, officials said Wednesday.

The clinic will be run by a family nurse practitioner and a staff of Navy corpsmen, as it was prior to the August closure, when the practitioner transferred to her next assignment.

When the branch closed, the Yokosuka hospital’s former commanding officer cited staffing shortages as a major reason. The hospital had deployed 70 of its medical providers to other commands as individual augmentees.

“We’re in a much better situation today,” hospital executive officer Capt. Kevin Knoop said Wednesday. “More than anything, [increased staff] allowed us to make the move at this time to re-engage services.”

Patients can begin scheduling appointments after Jan. 10 by calling DSN: 243-5352 or 046-816-5352. They can also enroll after Jan. 10 for primary care at Negishi with Tricare by calling DSN: 243-9832 or 046-816-9832.

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