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Tropic Care ‘beyond win-win’

PUHI — The third day of Tropic Care Kaua‘i was met with a visit to the Kaua‘i Community College clinic by state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Officer Dr. Janet Berreman, who was invited to sit in with Tropic Care Mission Commander Col. Scott Olech and the command team Wednesday.

Staff familiarized Berreman with the frontline Innovative Readiness Training program presented by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Aurora Mendoza and her two sons, Micah and Connor Millikin, were getting physical examinations for community and high school sports in the general wellness section. The family was not among the 1,007 patients who walked in for care earlier at the three Tropic Care Kaua‘i clinics and the mobile clinic in Kilauea.

“This is just after a day-and-a-half since we started,” said Jesse Hernandez, Tropic Care mission officer in charge.”We have people working on calculating the dollar value of the medical services provided by the Tropic Care Kaua‘i professionals.”

Face masks are a must when visiting the clinic for services, and a receptionist at the KCC clinic suggested that people wanting to avoid the lines can arrange their trips to the clinic after 11 a.m. A drawback to this arrangement is that dental services for the KCC clinic have been sold out for the day by mid-morning.

The IRT mission, labeled Tropic Care Kaua‘i by the Garden Island hosts, is made up of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, optometrists, dentists and others from the U.S. armed forces. The IRT is to provide military reservists with real-world, rapid-deployment capabilities, and fulfills a two-week annual training requirement as part of the Pentagon’s objectives.

“The result is that the hosting community receives health-care services,” Olech said. “People come from all over and work together for the mission.”

Berreman said that allowing state DOH personnel to be involved gives them the training needed to respond to other situations.

The need for health-care services provided by Tropic Care Kaua‘i also comes at a time people need it because of their struggles to make ends meet coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is beyond win-win,” Berreman said. “It’s winning on many fronts.”

The clinics for Tropic Care are open with services at no cost to everyone, including physical exams for kids in sports or entering seventh grade, eye exams and dental services.

Some sites also have limited services for nutrition, physical therapy and behavioral health. Take advantage of short waiting times after 10 a.m. at all clinics. Clinics are open until Monday.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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