Military to provide health care for free

Maui County residents will be able to receive free health, dental and vision care next month as part of a military deployment exercise, Mayor Alan Arakawa announced Tuesday.

From June 4 to 12, the health care will be offered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or as posted at sites in Central, West and South Maui; in Hana; and on Lanai and Molokai, the news release said.

About 400 uniformed personnel, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, dentists and others from active and reserve ranks of the armed forces around the country, will be performing the medical care. They are participating in a rapid deployment exercise named Tropic Care 2013.

Maui County was selected as the designated location for this free program per a request by Arakawa to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2011.

The free clinics will be open to all residents. Identification will not be required. The clinics will not accept advance appointments, and participants will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free health services include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling. Joe Pontanilla of the Mayor’s Office said that glasses can be made for free, medications dispensed, basic lab tests administered and cavities filled.

“This program will provide vital health care services for residents, especially those who don’t have or cannot afford any medical insurance,” Arakawa said. “I am confident that hundreds, if not thousands, of Maui County residents will benefit from these services.”

Tropic Care is a collaboration between Arakawa, the state 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 Kauai residents receive roughly $1 million in free health Screening 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 Dr. Lorrin Pang, health officer of the Maui County district. “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.”

Details on exact locations and the schedules for each clinic will be released as soon as logistics are finalized, the news release said. For more information, call Communications Director Rod Antone at 270-8222 or send email to