The U.S. Military, Maui County Mayor's Office and state Department of Health recently announced very good news for Maui County residents who lack health insurance.
Through Tropic Care Maui County, free medical, dental and vision care will be offered to the people of Maui, Molokai and Lanai next month.
The volunteers will be in West Maui at Lahaina Civic Center on June 11-12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Performing the health care services will be 400 uniformed personnel, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ophthalmologists, dentists and others from active and reserved ranks of the Armed Forces around the United States.
Kudos to Mayor Alan Arakawa, who arranged for this free program through an official request to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2011.
"This program will provide vital health care services for residents, especially those who don't have or cannot afford any medical insurance," Arakawa said.
"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."
The military personnel will be participating in a rapid deployment exercise.
Free clinics will be open to all. Identification is not required, and no fees will be charged.
Health services will likely include physical examinations, vision checks (and single-lens glasses), basic dental care and nutrition counseling, among others.
Joe Pontanilla, the Mayor's Office staff member tasked with helping to coordinate the program, noted that if people need 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."
The clinics will not accept advance appointments; participants will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Come prepared to wait in line with any needed essentials such as water, along with a folding chair and umbrella for shade at some locations.
The full Maui schedule is Iao Intermediate School in Central Maui from June 4-12, St. Theresa Catholic Church in Kihei on June 4-12, Helene Hall in Hana from June 4-6 and Lahaina Civic Center on June 11-12.
For more information, visit www.mauicounty.gov/TropicCare or call the Mayor's Office at 270-7855.
Last year, Tropic Care helped an estimated 12,000 Kauai 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," said 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."