Tropic Care delivers nearly $1 million in health care

PUHI — Tropic Care Kaua‘i has delivered almost $1 million in free health care services to Kaua‘i residents since Tuesday.

Wanda Shibata of the governor’s office, while delivering pastries from Hanalima Baking for the troops at the Kaua‘i Community College site, said she obtained the totals from Capts. Patrick Murray and Tammy King of the KCC site — one of three locations where Kaua‘i people can obtain free health care up until noon Friday.

Since opening Tuesday morning, Shibata said there have been 2,600 procedures done at the KCC site, 2,000 procedures performed at the All Saints Episcopal Church site in Kapa‘a, and 4,000 procedures at the Hanapepe Soto Zen Temple Zenshuji on the Westside.

“All told, the procedures amount to about $768,000 as of Friday afternoon,” Shibata said. “Based on the turnout, we should hit the $1 million mark some time (Saturday).”

Even as she spoke, people filed down the sidewalk looking for the Tropic Care Kaua‘i site located in the KCC nursing program facility.

Thomas Noyes, in charge of publicity for Tropic Care Kaua‘i, said the 400 military personnel from around the country have not just been dispensing medical service.

“About a dozen of them came to help clear driftwood and other debris washed down Wailua River and accumulating at Morgan’s Ponds at Lydgate Park Saturday,” Noyes said. “They were so energetic, the project was done in about an hour.”

Master Sgt. Deilynnette Beato of New Jersey said troops are being housed at the Kapa‘a Armory where there is no running water. To compensate for this, the troops are bused to Kapa‘a Middle School to take showers.

“They are real good,” said Nathan Aiwohi, Kapa‘a Middle School’s principal. “We were having trouble with the hot water heater because we don’t really use it that much, and now, since we host about 200 military people, the heater started giving us trouble. But they brought over the civil engineers who were at All Saints, and they fixed everything.”

Kaua‘i County Councilmember Nadine Nakamura, during the KIF tennis match Saturday, said All Saints Episcopal Church will hold services in the gym today because the clinics are set up inside the church.

Noyes said people have from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. to receive free health care being offered by Tropic Care Kaua‘i.

The three clinics will only close early, at 3:30 p.m. on March 6 to allow personnel to enjoy a lu‘au at Smith’s Tropical Garden.

On the final day, Friday, the clinics will close at noon.

“This is different from the original schedule which had the doors open until 7 p.m.,” Noyes said. “This is a revised time, and people are encouraged to take advantage of the services before the doors close at noon.”

Kaua‘i County Council Vice Chair JoAnn Yukimura said she encourages all families with preschool children to take advantage of the free dental care which offers free teeth cleaning.

“Most families have a hard time with dental care — not being able to afford it, even with health insurance, or unable to get an appointment,” said Bill Arakaki, Kaua‘i Area Complex superintendent, during the Kaua‘i District Science Fair on Thursday night.

“Families should really take advantage of this free health care offering. Some of the students need physical examinations, and this is one area which is being offered for free,” Arakaki said.

Tropic Care Kaua‘i offers free health care including physical examinations, vision checks and glasses, dental care, nutrition and physical counseling.

Tropic Health Care is a partnership between the Kaua‘i District Health Office and  Department of Defense Reserve Affairs.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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