Local Military News

Changes planned for military hospital serving thousands in Beaufort County

A hospital serving thousands of active duty and retired military members in Beaufort County is undergoing some changes.

Naval Hospital Beaufort will now be overseen by the Defense Health Agency. The move is part off a mandate by federal lawmakers to move all the military’s medical facilities under the agency.

The Port Royal hospital will remain open, but its urgent care clinic will close as of May 31, the facility announced this month.

Naval Hospital Beaufort includes the gated waterfront compound in Port Royal and branch clinics at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The hospital serves active duty marines and sailors, retired military and dependents — a population of about 35,000 in Beaufort County, according to the facility’s website.

After the urgent care clinic closes, patients can use other clinics in the Tricare network, hospital spokeswoman Lisa Lill said. Active duty military members must call a nurse line for a referral before being treated at an outside facility, while family members and retired personnel don’t need referrals.

The hospital’s urgent care operated with contracted doctors and nurses. Some were moved to other clinics while others had their contracts terminated, Lill said.

Naval Hospital Beaufort’s primary care clinic will have extended hours starting June 3. The clinic will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The extra two hours each day will allow patients to be seen after work or to schedule appointments for children without having to pull them out of school, Lill said.

The hospital’s name and phone numbers won’t change and will maintain its Navy affiliation, the news release said. Capt. Robert Jackson, the hospital’s commanding officer, will continue in the role under Navy Medicine while also serving as the medical treatment facility director under the Defense Health Agency.

In 2014, the hospital closed its emergency room, ended obstetrics services and reduced its gynecology, surgical and pediatric services.