Tropic Care Kauai making life better

The stories behind Tropic Care Kauai are all you need to hear to know just how important this program is to Kauai, and how fortunate we are to have it here.

There was the man who needed new glasses but couldn’t afford to buy them.

The kupuna who was having trouble walking but couldn’t get to a doctor to have her foot checked out, because she couldn’t afford it.

The young couple that had not been to a dentist for years.

The child whose parents had no health insurance and needed to take him to the doctor for a cough.

Young and old, married and singles, locals and new arrivals are receiving help during Tropic Care Kauai 2017.

The stories go on and on, as thousands of people receive assistance through this Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training operation. It is described as 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.

It is needed here.

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. 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.

Services include physical examinations, physical therapy, dental examinations, dental cleanings, dental fillings, tooth extractions, eye examinations and single focus eyeglasses

Almost unbelievably, it is all free. Many are suspicious of receiving something for free. They’re suspect of such a program that involves the military. Must be a catch, right? Must be something secretive about all this. There isn’t. For many, this is a lifesaving, life-changing program.

Some will argue it’s ultimately funded by tax dollars, so it’s not really free. But we can’t imagine a better way to use tax money than helping those who need it most.

Through the opening week of Tropic Care Kauai, there has been a sense of aloha and good will. The smiles and delight are infectious.

We bring this up because we don’t want anyone who might need assistance to miss out. There is still time to be part of Tropic Care Kauai, which will be open between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily. All clinic sites will close at 1 p.m. on June 18 and June 21.

Services will be available at clinic sites at Eleele Elementary School, Kauai Community College and Kapaa Middle School. Mobile clinics will be available at Kilauea Elementary School June 12-15, and at the Waimea Easter Seals facility June 17-21.

People wishing dental and vision services are encouraged to visit the clinic sites early because these services are limited in number and, based on previous visits, tend to sell out early. Service is limited to one area for each visit, which means people needing service for multiple areas will need to revisit the sites.

Before it’s done this year, Tropic Care Kauai will have made life a little better for thousands of people on Kauai. For that, we simply say, we appreciate all you do.

And, thank you.


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