The Open Door Clinic, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides basic health care services and a connection to community resources to Chippewa County residents who are without a health care alternative.
Nationally, it is estimated that eight to ten percent of the American population has no health insurance. In Chippewa County, that equates to 5,600 neighbors without health insurance. "The people who are most at risk today are those who have no health insurance at all. They're at risk of not getting regular care when they need it."
We strive to:
- Provide basic health care services to uninsured.
- Provide basic lab testing.
- Provide basic pharmaceutical services.
- Assist patients with prescription program applications.
- Remain aware of and leverage area resources to maximize our impact within the community.
- Provide a challenging, rewarding, and supportive environment for volunteers.
The Clinic Story began when Dr. Tom Chisholm moved back home to Chippewa Falls in 2005. Dr. Chisholm and a small group of community members set to work to open a free clinic in Chippewa Falls. The first challenge was to find a place to house the Clinic. The First Presbyterian Church had an ideal space and they were approached in June of 2005. The Church members discussed the idea in July and agreed to let the Clinic use the Church building.
Recruiting a Board of Directors was the next task. The people who agreed to be on the Board included doctors, nurses, social workers, lawyers, pharmacists, business people and community members. The Board of Directors held its first meeting September 19, 2005. The Open Door Clinic was selected as the name and the mission statement was written at that meeting. The Board agreed to initially meet twice a month in order to accelerate the process of making the Clinic a reality.
Then came the legal work of incorporating, filing for 501(c)(3) and tax exempt status. In March 2006 the 501(c)(3) was approved. The Board was working on by-laws, developing a budget, and fundraising. Thanks to the Rutledge Charities’ check of $25,000 the Clinic had start up funds. The Clinic was approved as a United Way agency in January 2007. The community has continued to provide funding.
Next came remodeling the space, recruiting volunteers, and getting supplies and equipment. A trip to Marshfield, Wisconsin provided five computers donated by Marshfield Clinic. Cray donated office partitions and office furniture. Spectrum Industries provided additional office furnishings. January 2006 the exam rooms started to take shape and a secure medical storage room was built in the basement using a door donated from S.J. Manufacturing. Marshfield Clinic in Chippewa Falls donated a medicine cart and other medical equipment and supplies.
Operating policies and procedures were developed next. The Chippewa Valley Free Clinic in Eau Claire provided the computer program, developed for them, to the Open Door Clinic to use. Visits to the Eau Claire Clinic helped to understand the operational challenges. The hours of operation were established to be every Tuesday from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
All of this work took place from September 2005 to March 2006. The result of all this work was the opening of the clinic to serve patients on April 18, 2006. That was the beginning of growth and improvement of services. Annual statistics show this growth and the great need for medical care for those without medical resources in Chippewa County. The Board quickly realized the operation of the Clinic required more day-to-day operations supervision. St. Joseph Hospital was asked about contracting to provide a Clinic Coordinator. The agreement was reached in October 2007 and the Clinic welcomed Dr. Deb Bieging as the first clinic coordinator. Many improvements of procedures and patient services have been made since the clinic opened in 2006.
Chris Maslonkowski RPh
Elizabeth Buchanan PhD
Barb Stevens RN, Sandra Frohling, Katelyn King, Ed Ebert DO, Susan Albee RN, RaeAnn Sigel, Joel Sigel, Gail Prock BSN JD, Chris Maslonkowski RPh, Marly's Daniels, and Elizabeth Buchanan PhD.