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Free health care services provided on Kauaʻi this week during Tropic Care

Operation IRT Tropicare Kaua'i 2022
Staff Sgt. Derek Davis/149th Fighter Wing Public Affair
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Digital
Operation IRT Tropic Care is officially underway on Kaua’i! IRT Tropic Care is a joint-service operation bringing together medical professionals from across the Air National Guard, Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Navy, Navy Reserve, and Public Health Services. Over the next two weeks they will have the opportunity to train in their respective specialities while also strengthening community relationships by providing medical, dental, and optometry services in Lihue, Hawai'i, on June 11, 2022.

A medical readiness program called “Tropic Care” starts today on Kauaʻi and will run until June 20.

Residents will have access to free dentistry, physicals and optometry on a first-come, first-served basis. IDs and insurance are not needed for service.

The mission will be led by the Air Force with the state Department of Health and County of Kauaʻi. Lauren Guest of the Kaua’i District Health Office says this will be the fifth time Tropic Care has operated on the island — and the first since 2017.

Guest said that, during planning discussions with the military, that this year's mission could be busier than normal because its been five years since the last one.

"As a result of that five-year gap between missions, and also because of the increase in need for care during that time — you know, a lot of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic and therefore their health insurance ,and for various reasons — have not had access to good access to care over the last couple of years," Guest said. "So we did prepare them for the idea that the sites might be busier than they were in prior years."

The military was able to provide over $9 million in health care services to Kauaʻi residents during the past five missions.

Patients are asked to bring current prescriptions, eyeglasses — and to expect a wait. The Kauaʻi Bus will run free-of-charge during this eight-day event.

A full list of clinic locations can be found at health.hawaii.gov/kauai/

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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