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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton


Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Did You Know: Elective medical services

By Sgt. Valerie C. Eppler | | October 1, 2014


Marines have several elective services and procedures they may not know are offered on base, like sleep apnea studies to smoking cessation and LASIK eye surgery to laser hair removal.

Marines know every year they have to do the periodic health assessment and audiogram, but what they may not know is many medical departments and clinics on base offers a variety of elective services that require no more than a referral from his or her primary care provider.


The Holistic Health Center is a division of the Treatment Programs Department.  They offer alternatives to traditional healing and pain relief.

The program focuses on identifying and treating factors that influence health: physical, biochemical, environmental, and emotional. The purpose of the program, is to restore maximum health, functional independence, and productivity to patients with various mental health and physical disabilities, according to the Holistic Health Program brochure.

Some of the services available at the Holistic Health Center are acupuncture, massage therapy, healing touch, yoga and Qi Gong.

Holistic health is the only program that requires a referral from a mental health provider instead of from a primary care provider.


Pregnancy can be difficult, especially if it the first one.  The Centering Program is designed to give pregnant women, both military and dependent, the opportunity to learn, interact and discuss all aspects of pregnancy and what to expect. Partners are also encouraged to attend.

Each centering group is led by a midwife and meets 9-10 times for two hours each throughout the woman’s pregnancy and postpartum period. It is designed to take the place of the individual appointments with the midwife or doctor, while receiving the same information they would have received in those 15 minute appointments.

In the classes the women and their partners receive classes on nutrition, physical therapy, breathing techniques, stages of labor and even a class from a lactation specialist among others, said Seaman Martha Jimenez, a hospital corpsman with the obstetrics and gynecology department, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

The centering groups are made up of pregnant women who are due around the same time. The last group session is a reunion after all the women have delivered.  It is an opportunity to further those bonds and friendships made with the women in the group throughout their pregnancy.


A condition that affects some Marines is called psuedofolliculitis barbae, which is an inflammatory reaction surrounding ingrown facial hair that results from shaving. 

Laser hair removal is a cosmetic surgery offered to active duty personnel who have this condition.

To be eligible for laser hair removal, the service member must first seek treatment through their PCM.  If they have a failed treatment through their PCM, they can then be referred to the dermatology department for further treatment.

Laser hair removal is typically done in six to eight sessions, with six weeks between sessions, said Petty Officer Third Class Marciella Coronado, a hospital corpsman with the Dermatology Department, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton. The effects of the hair removal are permanent and result in fewer ingrown hairs and bumps in the treated area.


The in-home sleep apnea study is a new program that has only been available at the Naval Hospital since mid-August. 

This program replaces the inpatient sleep study that was administered overnight in the hospital. Even in the short amount of time the program has been in place, the results have been positive with the patients sleeping better in a familiar environment, said Navy Lt. Marie Hood, division officer of Internal Medicine, Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton.

The patient goes to the hospital in the afternoon, the sensors are put in place and the patient is sent home with instructions for that night. 

This procedure is often recommended for patients who snore or wake intermittently throughout the night, said Hood.

Currently this study is only available for active duty service members.

There are several other elective procedures and services available, some exclusively for active duty service members, while others may also be available to dependents and retirees.  While these procedures are considered elective, there typically needs to be a medical condition in need of correction, meaning these procedures are rarely done for purely cosmetic reasons.

Patients can speak with their primary care providers to determine the best options available for their individual healthcare needs.