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NMCCL Stories

News | May 14, 2024

New clinic expands physical therapy services for Marines, Sailors on Lejeune

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A new clinic is increasing physical therapy options for Marines and Sailors on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Rather than defer physical therapy (PT) care to the network, the Warfighter Readiness and Rehabilitation Center has recaptured PT consults for active-duty service members by bringing PT care in closer proximity to military personnel.

“The demand for rehabilitation services, especially physical therapy, is very important to address the musculoskeletal needs of our service members and operational readiness for commands,” said Lt. Cmdr. Laura Riebel, rehabilitation services department head. “Musculoskeletal injuries and pain are the number one cause of lost duty time and disability for the military.”

Since Jan. 2023, Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune (NMCCL) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) have collaborated on an initiative to increase resources to recapture PT consults. Building 36, located off Post Lane on Lejeune, was renovated and 16 civilian positions established to bolster the clinic staffing to meet patient demand.

“Research demonstrates that early access to PT interventions results in fewer medical appointments or resources utilized, faster return to full-duty status for servicemembers, and a more effective utilization of medical personnel resources,” Riebel explained. “Overall, it's a win-win for our service-members, their units, and our medical assets.”

According to Riebel, with Eastern North Carolina’s mostly rural environment, Marines and Sailors often travel greater distances for PT care which limits the service-members' time performing military duties and could lead to treatment delays. Each year, the demand increased for more PT services for servicemembers.

“Previously, NMCCL lacked the capacity to evaluate and treat all of the physical therapy consults for the region, therefore service members were routinely sent to PT clinics in the network for their musculoskeletal care,” Riebel said.

A brief ribbon-cutting ceremony held on May 13, 2024, commemorated the clinic’s establishment. NMCCL Commander and Director Captain Kevin Brown stressed the importance of the clinic’s mission for military.

“This project is critically important, not just from a healthcare cost perspective but also for national security. The Warfighter Readiness and Rehabilitation Center will increase availability for warfighter training and improve clinical outcomes. Every minute invested in training contributes to our defense and global stability.”

The Warfighter Readiness and Rehabilitation Center offers a multitude of PT services including strength training, manual therapy, running training, dry needling, and other modalities such as spinal traction or electrical muscle stimulation. The center is open to military Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. by appointment.
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