Tropic Care Kauai rolls out

PUHI — Dr. Dileep Bal, head of the Kauai District Health Office, missed two sessions of church Sunday, but it did not matter.

“You all do God’s work,” Bal said during the briefing of nearly 300 military reservists at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center. “Tropic Care 2012, Tropic Care 2014, and now, Tropic Care 2016 — you all do God’s work.”

The 300 reservists were being briefed on Tropic Care 2016 which begins today and runs through June 29 at three Kauai sites — Kapaa Middle School, the Kauai Community College Office of Continuing Education and Training building, and Eleele Elementary School — from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Tropic Care is a Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training operation, an initiative that provides military reservists with real world deployment training. IRT is a multi-service operation that provides medical support to a variety of underserved American populations located in remote areas throughout the United States and U.S. territories.

“My contribution to this effort is infinitesmal compared to the work you do,” Bal said. “I retire on July 1 and turn over this responsibility to my director of nursing, Toni Torres, who has been heavily involved in the Tropic Care operation since it was founded more than six years ago.”

Many Kauai residents lack medical insurance, or are underinsured, and cannot be seen by a doctor, dentist, optometrist or mental health professional unless there is an acute health issue, said Ray Ho of the KDHO, the project manager.

By providing dental, optometric and primary care visits at no cost to participants, the IRT operation addresses a range of significant unmet health care needs of Kauai residents. Tropic Care Kauai, under the leadership of Air Force Lt. Col. Tamra Buettgenbach as the officer in charge, will offer dental, medical and optometric care, including sports physicals, optometric examinations, eyeglass production, adult health exams, tooth extractions, oral checkups and minor fillings.

In support of this operation, the Kauai Bus is offering free bus rides starting today through June 29, the final day for Tropic Care Kauai.

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