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May 19, 1989

Coast Guard Turns to Public Health Service, Civilian Physicians to Meet Medical Needs

JAMA. 1989;261(19):2784. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420190054008

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THEN THERE is the US Coast Guard. While the US Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy are part of the Department of Defense, the US Coast Guard is an agency of the Department of Transportation, and, says Michael P. Hudgins, MD: "The Coast Guard has no medical corps of its own. Our medical staff members are Public Health Service officers on permanent detail. They have to ask for assignment to the Coast Guard."

Hudgins, a rear admiral and chief, Office of Health and Safety, says there are 37 000 uniformed members of the Coast Guard and 5000 civilian employees. Their medical needs are taken care of by some 55 physicians.

The Coast Guard's infirmaries are at the Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn, and the Recruit Training Center, Cape May, NJ. However, Hudgins says: "We don't run a complex and expensive modern hospital system. Instead, we use military [Navy,