Lines long greet opening of Tropic Care Kauai

LIHUE — Senior Master Sergeant Ryan Voigt, second in command at the Kauai Community College clinical site for Tropic Care Kauai 2017, had concerns over the long lines outside the Office of Continuing Education and Training center Monday.

“There is a lady in her 90s waiting out there,” Voigt said to Ray Ho of the Kauai District Health Office. “If we give her some priority — it can’t be good for people of that age to be waiting that long — do you think we would have a situation?”

Francis Valdez said he arrived at 7:30 a.m. for the 8 opening, and was still waiting in line at mid-morning.

“I need some work done,” Valdez said. “It’s worth the wait.”

Tropic Care Kauai opened Monday at clinic sites at the Eleele Elementary School, the Kauai Community College, the Kapaa Middle School, and a mobile clinic at the Kilauea Elementary School.

“We do good dental work,” one of the nurses in the dental section said. “Not fast, but good!”

Operating under the Department of Defense Instant Readiness Training program, Tropic Care Kauai offers medical services, including physical exams, physical therapy, dental exams, a limited number of dental cleanings, dental fillings, tooth extractions, eye exams and single focus eyeglasses until June 21.

“We offer medical services at no cost to the customer in a military environment,” said Major Melissa Wardlaw, the mission commander, during a briefing to the more than 350 military professionals who arrived over the weekend. “Expect a rush because for a lot of people Monday is a holiday and people are able to get medical service without having to take off from work.”

The clinic sites are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. On June 18, all sites will have hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The mobile clinic will be in Kilauea this week, and move to the Waimea Easter Seals, June 17 through 21.

Ho said some of the new facets of this year’s Tropic Care Kauai include a triage area where preliminary medical data is collected and the patient assigned an area of service. This is an improvement over previous Tropic Care where the patient selected an area of service on their own.

Ho said another new facet is education, where patients stop for information on the service they received, including advice on medication requirements.

Toni Torres of the Kauai District Health Office presented Wardlaw with a kukui nut lei, welcoming her and the numerous other service personnel who had never been to Kauai.

“The lei represents light,” Torres said. “We love you, and the people love you.”

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