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Free Health, Dental, Vision Care to Be Offered in Maui County

“Tropic Care Maui County” to benefit residents, serve as rapid response training for military personnel.

May 21, 2013
Maui Weekly

Mayor Alan Arakawa announced last week that free healthcare, and dental and vision care will be offered to residents of Maui, Molokai and Lana'i in early June. The program will include nine clinic days between June 4 and 12 on different days at several locations in Central Maui, West Maui, South Maui, Hana, Lana'i and Molokai. (See "Tropic Care Maui County Clinic Schedule" sidebar below.) Clinics will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or as posted at individual sites.

Performing the healthcare services will be approximately 400 uniformed personnel, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, dentists and others from active and reserved ranks of the armed forces around the U.S.

The military personnel will be participating in a rapid-deployment exercise named "Tropic Care Maui County." Maui County was selected as the designated location for this free program after Mayor Arakawa signed an official request to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2011.

The free clinics will be open to all residents. Identification will not be required, and no fees will be charged. Health services will include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling, among others.

The clinics will not accept advance appointments and participants will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The public is asked to come prepared to wait in line with any needed essentials such as water, folding chairs and umbrellas for shade at some locations.

"This program will provide vital healthcare services for residents, especially those who don't have or cannot afford any medical insurance," said the mayor. "We are fortunate to have received a green light with the application we submitted many months ago, and I am confident that hundreds, if not thousands of Maui County residents will benefit from these services."

Tropic Care Maui County is made possible through collaboration between Mayor Arakawa, the State of Hawai'i Department of Health and the Innovative Readiness Training Program of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs.

Last year, Tropic Care helped an estimated 12,000 Kaua'i residents receive roughly $1 million in free health services, according to military officials.

"This opportunity will allow the Department of Health to save thousands of dollars and collect substantial and important data to map the landscape of Maui County's health status," added Maui County District Health Officer Dr. Lorrin Pang. "Tropic Care is a huge undertaking, but our federal, state and county levels of government are doing this so the community can reap the benefits."

Joe Pontanilla, a Mayor's Office staff member tasked with helping coordinate the program, noted that if someone needs glasses, they can have a pair made for free.

"Military personnel will also be equipped to administer basic lab tests, dispense medication, fill cavities and many other important health care services," Pontanilla said. "This is truly a blessing for our community."

For more information, visit or call the Mayor's Office at 270-7855 and ask to be transferred to the Tropic Care Maui County Clinic assistance line.



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