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Non-profit provides free healthcare

By Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@ftimes.com

Clinton County’s Open Door Health Clinic continues to serve uninsured and underinsured residents nearly 30 years later.

The non-for-profit clinic is donation-based and continues to expand today. The clinic provides treatment for minor injuries, acute and chronic illnesses, physicals and other examinations.

The clinic also offers free testing for urinalysis, strep, pregnancy and hemoccult evaluations.

When the clinic began almost 30 years ago, the office was an 8 feet by 8 feet spece inside a church. Director and Registered Nurse Sharon Hayden who has been with the clinic for 22 years now said although the church worked for the time being, it was not an ideal situation.

“Volunteers would set up medical supplies on tables in learning rooms and break them down every evening,” she said. “We would even use the kitchen area for the lobby.”

The clinic has come a long way since. Now, the clinic resides at 2 East White St., where it serves at least 3,000 patients per year.

In 2002, United Way of Clinton County became an agent to the clinic and has since remained a huge source for funding. The clinic receives $20,000 from the United Way on a quarterly basis.

United Way Director Carolina Booth said the clinic serves as one of the organization’s partners in the fight for health education and financial stability for individuals in the community. She said the clinic plays a vital role in childhood development.

“We believe kids need to have their basic needs met if we want them to be successful in other areas,” Booth said.

The clinic also receives help from volunteers, Spanish interpreters and Indiana University Hospital, which provides lab work and X-rays. Local churches also donate funds.

With the sole mission of providing residents with free medical care, the clinic started a medication assistance program, for select medications to eligible patients. Booth said this program, along with the clinic, is for working parents who need the extra help.

Since the program started in 2005, over $13 million has been distributed in medication throughout the community. The medication assistance program serves a majority of the clinic’s patients.

Hayden said people also encounter tough situations where they lose insurance, or barley meet the guidelines and are the edge of the poverty line.

“We need to serve the uninsured and underinsured to have a healthy community,” she said.

The clinic is open on select hours on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Residents can confirm eligibility by providing proof of income, tax returns or IRS status. For information, the clinic can be reached at (765) 654-9544.