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August 15, 2018

Tropic Care Provides Free Health Services on Lanai

Lanai residents can get a free checkup, dental filling or pair of glasses at Lanai Gymnasium, for a limited time.

Tropic Care, a no-cost health clinic, runs through Sunday, Aug. 19 on Lanai, Molokai and Maui. Health services are provided by 52 active-duty and reserve U.S. military personnel, here on Lanai as part of a joint-service training mission funded by the Department of Defense.

Anyone is welcome to receive dental, optical or medical care on a first-come, first-served basis — no insurance or ID required.

Services offered

The Tropic Care clinic is open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Aug. 11–18, and 8–11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19, offering the following services at no cost:

Medical

  • Physical exams
  • Sports physicals (bring school form)
  • Blood pressure/disease screenings
  • Preventive education
  • Referrals to Lanai providers for follow-up care

Dental

  • Dental exams
  • Extractions
  • Fillings

Vision

  • Vision screenings
  • Glasses prescriptions
  • Single lens glasses
  • Reading glasses

While all services are free, there are no appointments. Joelle Aoki, executive director of the Coalition for a Drug-Free Lanai (CDFL) and clinic organizer, recommends coming early in order to ensure you receive an available slot.

“Vision services are most in demand,” she said. “With our partners Project Vision and Lion’s Club, we are doing free single vision prescription glasses, which you receive within two to three days, and a free pair of reading glasses.”

How Tropic Care came to Lanai

Residents may remember when the first Tropic Care mission came to Lanai in 2013. Following the success and positive feedback received from that clinic, CDFL worked with Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa’s office to send an official request to the Pentagon for a second Tropic Care mission.

Since then, many other partners have come together to make this clinic a reality. It isn’t easy to turn a gymnasium or community center into a health care site where tooth extractions and medical exams can be performed, but as Aoki notes, organizations and individual residents have stepped up to the cause.

Aoki spoke of the many Lanaians who offered their time over the past few days, bringing equipment from the dock to the gymnasium, setting up and organizing patient intake. All in all, more than 50 volunteers are helping with clinic operations and other support services.

“What this clinic has brought to Lanai is worth more than just a filling or a pair of glasses,” said Aoki. “Seeing everyone work together, the camaraderie and community-building between our residents and the benefit our military members are leaving behind is truly gratifying.”

Don’t miss your chance

Aoki urges everyone on the island to take advantage of Tropic Care’s services, especially those who are uninsured or underinsured and have been putting off seeing a doctor.

“We had a woman come in with an infected tooth who had suffered for so long because she didn’t have dental coverage. When we pulled her tooth, she was ecstatic, smiling at everyone,” she said. “We’ve helped people who haven’t had a new glasses prescription in six or seven years.”

If the last Tropic Care mission in 2013 is any indication, the final few days of the clinic were the busiest, so Aoki recommends not waiting until the last minute.

“Every day, we have had people come up to us and say thank you, you’ve really helped my family,” Aoki said. “It’s a blessing. We’re bringing people together to have a healthier community.”

Tropic Care Lanai

Aug. 11–18, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (last patients seen at 4:30 p.m.)
Aug. 19, 8–11:30 a.m.
Lanai Gymnasium, 555 Frasier Ave.
Click here for more info.

Tropic Care Community Potluck

Thursday, Aug. 16, 5:30 p.m.
Lanai Community Center
The community is invited to join military members and volunteers for a potluck dinner and entertainment in celebration and appreciation of a healthier Lanai.

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