Okinawa Hai fallback


A while back ago I woke up at 6 am to find my sister (who was visiting from the states) in full panic mode. Turns out that her 4-year-old son caught one of the many respiratory viruses that linger here in the Okinawan humidity. He had woken up at 3 am coughing, congested, and wheezing with asthma. Despite the fact that my husband is in the medical group here and our pediatrician lives 3 houses down, we could not obtain a simple but much needed asthma inhaler. The problem was that the military base does not cover routine healthcare or prescriptions for anyone but military members. Lester Naval Hospital will see folks on an emergency basis only (and possibly charges ER rates). Kadena clinics really frown upon seeing any but military members. All the military doctors here are super busy and overloaded so I understand this policy. However, this still leaves you with the dilemma of what to do when your out of town visitors need healthcare? How do you find an off-base pediatrician who speaks English?

The answer turns out to be Adventist Medical Center. Their receptionist speaks perfect English. They have English speaking doctors and appointments as early as the next day. Their doctors are even in network for Blue Cross Blue Shield! I’ve also heard awesome things about their OB department and they apparently are a VERY popular place for fertility treatments. My sister and I actually didn’t end up there in the end as a dear friend loaned us her asthma inhaler. However, the relief at knowing Adventist Medical Center exists was priceless.

Here also is the address and directions for Adventist Medical Center:

Adventist Medical Center Tel: 098-946-2833
Foreign language: English
Medical examination subject
internal medicine, pediatrics, surgical department, maternity and gynecology department and dentistry, etc.
Location: Nishihara, Kouchi 869

Here’s how to get there:

Take the Express Way towards Naha.  Get off at Exit No. 2 at Nishihara.

After you pay the toll, the road splits, so take a left fork.  You’ll merge onto 330.  Take the second ramp to leave 330.  At the first stoplight, take a left onto 241.  Drive for a while, and at the first stop light after passing an Esso gasoline station, on your left, turn left onto 38.  You’ll come to the junction where KFC and McDonalds are located.  This is the junction of 38 and 29.  Turn right onto 29.  You’ll drive for a while.  You’ll see the medical center on the top of the hill on your left.  You’ll see a big sign for Adventist on your left right before LAWSON.  Turn left at the sign.  If you come to Lawson, you’ve passed the road.  The hospital is on the top of the hill.


  1. I am requesting information on immunizations for newborns. Does AMC follow the same immunization guidelines as the Center for Disease Control in the U.S.? Specifically, 2 month immunizations, Hep B, Rotavirus, DTap (pertussis), Hib (influenza type B), PCV(pneumococcal) and IPV (polio)? Also, does AMC accept Aetna health insurance? I appreciate any assistance you can offer.

  2. For GOV Civilians, going to the doctors on base is an inconvenience as they are low on the priority scale. Depending on the on base hospital you may be able to schedule an appointment 24hrs in advanced (No sooner), or choose a walk-in if your assigned clinic allows it, then wait until something opens up (may be quick, or all day). Insurance is charged, but takes a long time to go through the system and is often more expensive. Japan has universal healthcare which often translates to cheaper prices than you would pay on base.

    So far, every GOV civilian I know in okinawa prefers to go off-base to get any medical or dental needs taken care of. Then just fill out a claim and send it to the insurance company. Care is excellent, and appointments can be made in advance. Just be sure that they have english speaking staff, or someone with you who can translate.

  3. Editor’s Note: Due to technical difficulties this comment was not saved on our server. We are re-publishing it now to continue the conversation on this post.

    From Lilly on 9/18/13:
    “Hi I was told AMC offers 4D ultrasound and i was wondering if anyone has done it and how much does it cost?”

  4. To the women who do not like “military” doctors, most of them are trained in the SAME exact program as the “civilian” doctors. The only difference is the “civilian” doctors pay back all their student loans for 100 years and the “military” doctors serve their country as payback for their loans. I have seen bad doctors in the military world while be covered by tricare and I have seen very bad doctors in the civilian world. Tricare covers more than most any health insurance program you can get, the only reason people like civilian doctors better is because they are more apt to do a TON of unnecessary testing because it improves their bottom line! Not to mention the cost of the health insurance in the private sector- for most of you it would be half your paycheck! The “military” doctors have no bottom line and the good ones are VERY good! I know quite a few of them! Doctors are no different than any other career, ie teachers, politicians, lawyers, etc. there are good and bad in every career field.

    • They may be trained in the same program, but civilian doctors can at least “fake” like they care about their occupation more. My worst medical experiences have been with doctors who were in the military (male AND female). I just recently found a military doctor who seems to know what he’s doing (it only took me 3 years) and he’s not even the one they had assigned as my primary because my primary is another one of those statistics unfortunately. There may be good military doctors but something tells me you can count the number of them in existence on your hand.

  5. Hi everyone,

    Just wanted to share that I had IVF done at Ryukyu University Hospital. Had my 1st appointment in a matter of a week (I think they also do walk in before 11am), started IVF after 2nd month of my cycle, and was pregnant on my 1st IVF transfer. Dr Yagi is a female who speaks perfect english. She is absolutely amazing and is a perfectionist as we know, when trying to get pregnant it’s all about timing …Thanks to her & Her team I am now 13 weeks pregnant. 🙂

    Price of IVF runs about 300,000 Yen pretty much including everything.

    Phone Number is: 098 895 3331 they might now speak english when answering the phone, but they do understand when you say “Transfer me to Dr Yagi” who will then transfer you to Dr. Yagi she will answer any question you have.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  6. I am wondering if anyone used the government insurance or just Tricare. I am not military and delivered my son in Osaka for about $300 US. The japanese goverment reimbured us for all of the fees. I am planning on having my second now in Okinawa and was hoping for the same thing. Is this possible or not? It seems like most people are paying out of pocket.

  7. I see the fertility doctor at amc. I wanted to let everyone know that tricare will pay everything but fertility treatment. I was so relieved to be getting some money back. The doctors are very nice and helpful! 🙂

  8. We opted to have my baby at AMC because we had heard too many scary stories about what it is like to have a baby at Lester USNH. We had to pay out of pocket up front and we were not reimbursed for most of the bills, but it was worth it to us because we couldn’t put a price on the health and safety of myself and my baby. The prenatal care I received was great and I thought everything was going so well until the time came to deliver my baby. I was leaking amniotic fluid, so I went into AMC. The staff checked me and informed me that it wasn’t amniotic fluid, but discharge that is common in the end stages of pregnancy. They sent me home and I stayed there for two days, all the while leaking discharge. I woke up on the second day with a high fever. We went straight to AMC only to find out that it had been amniotic fluid that I was leaking and that I didn’t have enough left to sustain my baby any longer. They did an emergency csection and he was born with a fever of 105 and a dangerously high heart rate. He and I both had to stay in the hospital for five days. My son was battling for his life, and I couldn’t get rid of the infection or the fever. On the sixth day, I requested that we both be transferred to Lester because we didn’t have the money to pay for all those extra days in the hospital. We were in Lester for three days and they took very good care of my son and I. When I found out I was pregnant with our second baby, I didn’t hesitate to seek care at Lester. I went on to deliver her without any complications. If you feel having your baby at AMC is the best choice, then you should go with your feelings. However, don’t assume the care you receive there will necessarily be any better than the care you would receive at Lester.

  9. While my wife was pregnant we went there for all 41 weeks. On Jan 10th, 2011 we had our daughter there. They’re the friendliest doctors/nurses I have talked to in a long time. Referring to the cost it depends if you want to share a room, have your own room or get the deluxe room with a couch or tatami mat. Japanese government paid for all her visits but one, cause she was over due a week and my wife’s insurance covered the birth with 5 days in the hospital. A natural birth with 5 days in the hospital, in her own room was ¥434000 ($5,256.17). In those 5 days they teach you how to give your newborn a bath and how to breastfeed and what not. Also you get a “starter kit” with a blanket and a few different types of formula, which was great for us cause my wite does not make much milk right now so we need to supplement sometimes.

    We are both 100% completely satisfied with AMC and will highly recommend them to everyone.

    • Hi Dean, I will be delivering my 2nd child in Okinawa and am looking at AMC for prenatal care and delivery. I will have a visa, national health insurance, and an alien registration card. I am not military. Will the national government reimburse me for the services provided at AMC? I was reimbursed when I had my first son in Osaka. I think I paid about $300 all together for everything. Does this sound like the same as your experience? Any information is appreciated.

      • Yes, the government will cover your expenses at AMC if you have the national health insurance. Just whenever you get here make sure you register with the town office you are living in so you have the right paperwork. We go to AMC for everything and have never had any problems.

        • Thank you for the information. I kept reading that people werent getting reimbursed but I think it is if you have Tricare, which we dont. I forget that I am not military living in Okinawa and freak out about the things that dont apply to me.

          • Hi Julie,
            One more quick question…Do they do the full anomoly 20 week U/S at Adventist. I am contemplating having one done just before 17 weeks before I head over, but am afraid that it will be a waste of money b.c. they may not see what they need to see. If I can just wait to get to Japan and have it done there, I would be thrilled but I am not sure if it is the same extensiveness as the ones that they do here (look at the heart chambers, bladder, stomach, etc).

          • Hi Michelle,
            Is that like the 3d ultrasounds or just the regular one? Adventist doesn’t do the 3d ultrasounds, but the cool thing is you get an ultrasound with nearly every appointment… they have the machines in every room, so they just automatically did it every time I had a check-up! I have heard there is another place (off-base) that does 3d ultrasounds, but I’m not sure where it is. Hope that helps!

          • Hi Julie! I am not looking for a 3D place so that is fine. I just want to make sure that the big 20 week U/S where they look at all the chambers of the heart and the stomach happens. If not, i will scheudule mine early and have it done here. I am pretty sure they do it.

  10. As a DA civilian employee at Torii Station from 2002-2007 my wife and I were “pay patients” at military facilities, and used the Adventist dental clinic for all our dental care. Staff were friendly, bilingual and professional and the fees were less for us than at US military facilities. And waiting times were much shorter. I highly recommend them. My wife took a military spouse friend there for a second medical opinion and she never went back to Lester.

  11. Lester’s ER takes non-military family members visiting from the states. My mom was visiting for a week and got a UTI and the ER on Camp Lester took great care of her. Their number is 643-7338. And the guards let us in the front gate of Lester with only my ID and their passports since we told them we were going to the ER.

  12. Does anyone know the name and number of another clinic that does IVF? I have an appointment with them, but I cant be seen until the middle of February…Thanks for any help in advance. Also, does anyone know what if anything Tricare will cover with IVF?
    Thanks again!

  13. Has anyone had a root canal done at the Dental Clinic at Adventist? I’m wondering if they do things any differently there than in the States. I’m scheduled for one on Sunday (yes, they’re open on Sunday!) and I’m a little nervous 🙂

  14. For David who’s wife has fibromyalgia. I was just diagnosed off-base and also have Chronic Fatigue. Honestly there really aren’t a lot of treatments available. I was given a lot of information but not prescription meds because those are rather strong and dangerous. Best bet is to research online like I did. There is a wealth of information available. Please feel free to email me and i can refer you to the doctor I went to. He speaks excellent English and may be able to refer you to a specialist depending upon the severity of your wife’s fibromyalgia.

  15. Hey people.. man I love this website… So I seen someone else ask the same question with no response. My husband and I are PCS to Okinawa in November was wondering if anyone knew of a tubal reversal place over there and the cost and success rates? Trying to compare and see if we should get it done before we leave or maybe when we return in 3 yrs.. I would prefer not to have to wait for 3yrs though lol. Thank guys! any help would be appreciated.

  16. omg i was reading some of these comments, so much reading to do, but is there any hospital where your fully covered through tricare.All this very positive recommendations for Adventist, but you have to pay and child birth cost $4000. im stressing by reading that, how can many people just afford that??we will be heading out to kadena this august and im due end of october….what should i do?? so much to think about, this is very overwhelming for me

  17. Has anyone taken their kids to the dentist at the Adventist Dental Clinic? I’m wondering what it’s like. We can’t get into the Kadena clinic and my daughter is only 3 1/2 years old. In the States, she sat in my lap for the exam and cleaning and they were very, VERY, patient with her. I have a feeling it’s going to be different here and would like to know what to expect.

  18. Is anyone here getting treatment for fibromyalgia? My wife went to a doctor in Itoman, but it’s awfully far to drive and he doesn’t speak English. And the Naval Hospital doesn’t have a doctor who knows much about the syndrome. Any information would be welcomed.

  19. We just moved here & I’ve had little experience w/military doctors. I saw one this week who said I have a precancerous skin lesion on my face & that a tech would freeze it off. First, I think it should be tested to be sure it’s not cancerous. Second, I’m not comfortable w/a tech burning my face and possibly leaving a significant scar. Has anyone had experience with skin cancer or precancerous skin growths? Any help would be much appreciated. I’m willing to just pay out of pocket to see a qualified dermatologist.

  20. Hi everyone、I have some info about clinics that do infertility treatment in Okinawa. One is Yabiku Hospital in Chatan, my sister-in-law had IVF here and it was successful. There might be an English speaking Dr. there. I go to Women’s clinic Itokazu in Naha ( not far from Main place) and the Dr. I see is great, however he doesn’t speak much English. One of the coordinators there speaks good English though and she has been able to help out at times when I don’t understand explanations. The clinic also has a hospital which is in a separate building over the road. It’s almost brand new. I’ve had a couple of procedures there ( one a Laparoscopy) and the care is excellent.
    Albany- I had an HSG at Adventist but sorry can’t remember the cost!
    I think you really do need to do a lot of reasearch yourself , I felt the same way- I didn’t really understand what was being said and even if I did I would forget everything once I got home, still do now! It’s a lot to take in so it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. I recommend writing your questions down beforehand, taking them with you to the appointment and write the answers down . If you have any questions feel free to ask. I ‘ve had several IVF treatments , some at Adventist, and one at the clinic I go to now. ( no IUIs though)

  21. Lori,
    I’d be interested in the “logistics” of having my baby at Adventist as well. I’m guessing we enroll in Standard upon arrival to Okinawa, but beyond that – I’m lost. Any help you can provide would be wonderful!

    Thank you in advance!

  22. I’ve recently been to Dr. V at AMC for infertility. After several appts now, I feel the urge to rush home and continue my own research because this whole fertility process is very new to me. I, myself, would prefer a female OB, like my OB at Lester, onl because I feel much more comfortable w/a female doctor, but one that doesn’t just throw a lot of info at me without explaining the terminology/procedures. I do say that I have educated myself and continue to do so. If we’re going to be paying for everything upfront, then I would expect to have an understanding of my blood levels and what they mean.
    I mean no disrespect to Dr. V, as I was very impressed and pleased with several of the other individual praises about him. Perhaps it’s ME–that I’m not asking enough questions, although I must admit-I wasn’t educated about fertility enough to know just WHAT questions to ask.
    The costs I was quoted were:
    $200 for ICI
    $5000 for IVF
    $75 for initial office visit
    $50 thereafter for office visits
    Does anybody know what an HSG costs?
    Any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Thanks! 🙂

  23. i just had my first initial visit at AMC and so far it seems like Dr. Vaughn will be a great doctor to work with. he’s planing to give me clomid and injections (fsh) for 2 cycles- if no conception by then, then we will try iui in conjunction with the other treatments. i’m constantly on here to see reviews about the amc, procedures, costs and what not. i wish you ladies luck. will post occasionally to feed the wondering minds!

  24. The bakery my daughter and I worked at in January is actually owned and operated by a former doctor from the Adventist hospital! (He still volunteers his time at the hospital once a week) All of the goods made at Yaedake Bakery are available at the Adventist Store located at the hospital. I didn’t realize there was a post on the hospital or I would have linked to it. 🙂 I’ve heard only great things about the staff at the hospital, and if they are anything like Dr. Higa you’ll always been in good hands!

  25. I just had a baby at Adventist and I highly recommend it. It cost about $4,000 USD (payment due upon discharge, cash or credit card) for a natural childbirth and a three-day postpartum and nursery stay. I had the basic private room and bathroom. I could have stayed 6 days (as is standard for Japanese mothers). My husband stayed with me for three nights and the staff brought him a cot with bedding.

    Routine prenatal visits ran about 5,200 yen each (not included in the $4k mentioned above), and labwork varied in cost. I saved some money by having most of my labwork done on Kadena; Adventist accepted the copies of the records I took to them.

    The staff at Adventist accommodated all of my desires relating to my birth experience (labor positions, when I checked in/out, if I wanted to eat/drink, lights, room temp, music etc). I was free to move about, and I was never unattended for a single moment during labor (the nurse/midwife to patient ratio was 1:1). Unlike the doctor that delivered my first child at the USNH on Camp Lester in 2006, Dr. Vaughn presented the information and let me decide what to do with it, he coached me through the entire delivery process, and he didn’t do anything I didn’t give him permission to do. Dr. Vaughn wrappred things up by saying a prayer for us after it was all over.

    They do things a little differently than in the States, for example, I was free to eat and drink during labor. I had intermittent external fetal monitoring (continuous monitoring would have interfered with my freedom to move around during labor). Vitamin K was administered to my baby orally, instead of via injection as is standard in the US. Also, most babies are kept in the nursery and only brought to the mother to feed, but you can keep your baby in your room with you if you want, like I did. The staff was respectful of my wishes not to give my baby pacifiers or bottles without my permission.

    All the Adventist nursing staff seemed very knowledgeable about and supportive of natural childbirth and breastfeeding, which was great. In addition to a 4-week post partum checkup, my baby and I also went to a two-week breastfeeding checkup, which was very helpful.

    Dr. Mathumoto, an English-speaking pediatrician saw my baby as an in-patient, examined him before discharge, and again at a 4-week check up at the outpatient unit.

    I do not speak Japanese, but I had no significant difficulty communicating with the staff at the OB clinic, the L&D/postpartum/nursery unit, billing department, lab, pharmacy, or the outpatient unit. I requested copies of my record and both Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Mathumoto provided summaries of our records in English.

    Incidentally, my child has received two Hepatitis immunizations at Adventist (first one done prior to discharge, second one done at the outpatient unit during the four-week check-up). I did have to pay for these immunizations, though they might have been free if I’d had them done at an on-base immunization clinic. At any rate, I don’t regret it.

    Having a baby at Adventist was the right choice for me. I’m glad that I didn’t have to go back to the USNH on Lester again. The only thing my two childbirth experiences had in common was that both times I walked out of the hospital with a baby!

    I am grateful to Okinawa Hai for providing a forum to exchange information. Okinawa Hai put me on the right path to me make an informed decision. In the interest of paying it forward, I am going to try to double-post this under Healthcare and Pregnancy, Childbirth and Beyond. I hope others can benefit from the information I’ve provided! Feel free to request more info if necessary.

  26. Can anyone tell me if Adventist (or any other hospitals/clinics on island) will do vaccinations for military dependents?

    I am trying to find someone to do *just* measles , then rubella, then mumps, for my son… NOT the MMMR shot. I’ve been told everything from “they don’t make those any more” to “we can’t get them” on base. I know the Japanese vaccinate later than USA does, and that they have a Measles only and a Measles/Rubella shot…. any clue where we can get this?

  27. Amiko,
    My husband and I are talking about IVF and I am clueless about where to start. I know I need to get a referral from my dr. on base but what are my other options for off base doctors? AMC is the only medical facility I know about. Any info would help 🙂 thanks!!

  28. I realise this comment is a bit late but have only just come across this artical. I have been to the Adventist Medical Center for IVF treatment however i was not aware that they had a very high success rate, it certainly was never mentioned to me. I agree that yes, Dr. Vaughn is a good doctor, however Dr. Vaughn is not an R.E, he is an OB-GYN. He will probably be the first person you speak to for your initial consultations but after that you are turned over to the R.E. The R.E who does IVF at the hospital is Japanese but can speak English. The main problem i had was that we were not told about certain important things relating to our treatment and it was only after i did my own research did the R.E agree to certain things, things he should have talked about with us before we started out treatment. Things were just done without telling us why, as we have since found out after leaving and joining a new clinic. We were able to look at our notes before handing then over to the new clinic and were not happy to see that they had performed a procedure which they neglected to tell us about. Incidently, our new clinic, which is an actual clinic specialising in infertility, told us they would never do anything like that without discussing it with us first or at least letting us know if they had to do something they felt was necessary. This is just my personal experience and i understand there may be some women who have had no problems with the hospital at all. I just wanted to share my experience and to let you know that Adventist is not the only place on Okinawa that offers IVF, though it may be convenient for language purposes, it doesn’t necessarily make it the best option. On a positive note, the nurses are lovely at Adventist and the dentist i see there is very good and speaks great English.

  29. I have no idea about the braces, but the dental treatment facilities onbase have free limited services. I’d call whichever dental clinic you signed up for when you chose your primary care providers through tricare (either on foster 643-4419 or kadena 630-4026 ). If you still pay for your Dental Insurance through Tricare’s United Concordia then you can also choose to go offbase for treatment (the benefits advisors above will be able to give you more info on that as well or you can check directly with United Concorida). Good luck!

  30. Does anyone have any information or insight on the orthodontic care/services available on base? Someone said that dental is “free”. I find this hard to believe. My daughter needs braces (10 yr old) but I heard that dental is taken care of there. I am wondering if they will only accept people that arrive with their braces or will they also start the ortho program for your child there? I am debating on showing up with them or waiting. Any information is helpful. Thank you in advance!

  31. Deborah, Hoping you had already visited Adventist Medical Center for consalting your needs. Yes, we have a very high success rate of IVF. Many of infitility patients have satisfied by our care and their results. That is why military personels and/or their wives come to seek the treatment in AMC. I had worked the hosp for 12 years as a full-time RN & puls part-times during summer vacations. I believe that you will love Dr. Vaughan, one of OB-GYN physician & my friend. Many American doctors are working the hosp’ and many of the physicians are licenced from the US and Japan. They really care their patients and families & friends of the patients. I am now in the US just finished MS in Family Nurse Practitioner. I want to go back to AMC for working as a FNP. however;I couldn’t work as FNP in Japan since Japan doesn’t have such profession. If Japanese government provide the certification, I will returen to AMC to provide a better healthcare. Any way, I hope you will be well treated. You would be experienced the great care including massage and wonderful support from nurses & phisicians during delivering your baby!!! I have no doubt about it.

  32. Sorry to interrupt, but this comment is for Kelly who sent me a message, but I didn’t get her e-mail to reply. ( It was about having my child off base, she wanted to know some information. )

    1. How much did it cost?
    Free. The city pays for the birth, you just have to provide proof that it happened. Sorry, you need a Japanese citizenship for this.

    2. Which clinic did you use?
    There are several different clinics that do specialty just child birth and care. You’ll have to consult either Adventist Medical Center for a list or go to a local Okinawa/Japanese for help on this.

    3. Do they speak English?
    About 10% do. Your best bet is to go the ones that offer English help vice ones that have someone who knows English. Again, ask Adventist Medical.

    4. Do they allow you to follow your birth plan?
    Depends. They #1 concern is safety for the child and you. As long as you don’t interfere with those two, you are good.

    5. Is it required to stay still in bed?
    I couldn’t tell you. My wife was in labor for 7 hours and even if she wanted to walk around, she couldn’t due to the pain. She stayed glued to her bed. But this I know, they offer massage therapy.

    6.Does your child born there have a Japanese citizenship?
    Actually, I heard he has Japanese until you give him US. Japan doesn’t offer duel citizenship so you’ll have to choose one or the other.

    Hope that help and sorry downtownjuliebrown.