The Open Door Clinic, Inc.

The Open Door Clinic

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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.

The Board decided that besides providing doctors and nurses for patients to see, the Clinic needed to provide lab work and medications. A formulary was developed of prescription medications that would be available for doctors to prescribe for patients. The Medicine Shoppe agreed to provide these medicines at cost plus a small dispensing fee. The Clinic developed the ability to assist patients who qualify to enroll in the drug companies Patient Assistance Program to get the medicine for free. PharmaStar agreed to adjudicate prescriptions for medications not stocked by the Clinic. St Joseph Hospital, Marshfield Clinic, and Midlefort Clinic agreed to donate required lab work and processing.

Another important service was to provide patients with information about other community services and benefits they were eligible for from outside sources. A consulting program was developed.

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.