Marines and Sailors celebrate opening of local health clinic

4 Feb 2016 | Sgt. Brytani Musick Marine Corps Forces Reserves

 Up until now Marines and Sailors at Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans had to make a 13-mile drive for all of their health needs.  Jan. 29, 2016, marked the day for that burden to end by affording service members the opportunity to take care of basic health needs in their own facility.

            Sailors from Pensacola, Florida and Belle Chasse, Louisiana, celebrated the opening of the new health clinic with a ribbon cutting ceremony, Jan. 29, 2016 at the facility.

“When we get all of our equipment we will be able to do Periodic Health Assessment’s, labs, audiograms, immunizations, and constantly be ready for 20-minute appointments for basic needs from a cold to a torn knee after physical training,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Charles Morris, a hospital corpsman at the new clinic.

The new clinic will have a team of six medical and three dental professionals to care for Marines and sailors.

            The transformation of the old office space to become the clinic took Sailors and Marines six months to complete, while the idea had been two years in the making, said Morris.

            “We opened up the new clinic at MARFORRES to save the Marines time from having to travel from here to the Belle Chasse clinic, wait there for a couple hours to been seen and then drive all the way back,” said Morris. “It takes time out of their work day. I think we are saving about 3,500 hours a year for the Marines.”

            Some Marines will look forward to the new facility being a simple walk downstairs, instead of a 60-minute round trip drive.  It also makes the trip easier for Marines and Sailors who do not live in Belle Chasse.

            Capt. Sarah Marten, the commanding officer for Naval Hospital Pensacola, spoke at the ceremony and highlighted the clinic’s purpose.                    

            “That’s what this clinic is about,” said Marten. “It’s about wealth and health.”

            Mr. Gregg Habel, the executive director of MARFORRES and Marine Forces North, expressed his appreciation for the Navy medical support and commented on how valuable this clinic will be.

            “It is going to make a difference,” said Habel. “Whether you are coming down here to get your annual exams out of the way or getting a checkup, this makes it easier.”

            The Marines and Sailors of the support facility are very excited to have a clinic so close, they recognize how helpful it will be to stay mission ready and be afforded the opportunity to take care of health needs quicker rather than spend so much time driving for a simple appointment.

            “Now we aren’t sacrificing our personal needs over our work requirements by traveling back and forth to Belle Chasse,” said Master Sgt. Susan Sharlow, assistant aviation supply chief, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing headquarters. “This place is going to stay busy I’m sure for many, many days to come.”

            The new clinic can currently conduct acute and routine medical care, PHAs with audiograms available in Spring of 2016, dental exams, preliminary physical exams/screenings, limited pharmacy pickup, lab collections and immunizations by appointment.