Open Door Health Center forums set for Tuesday
WORTHINGTON — The Open Door Health Center (ODHC) is inviting the public to participate in a community forum on Tuesday at the Area Learning Center, 117 11th Ave.
There will be two time slots available for people to attend — 2 to 3 p.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
ODHC is based out of Mankato and currently provides medical, dental and behavioral health care to thousands of individuals in southern Minnesota. Patients can be uninsured or insured, citizens and non-citizens, from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and of all ages.
“We currently have our mobile medical and dental services offered in four areas — Marshall, Slayton, Dodge Center, and Gaylord — but when speaking with local health and dental providers, we have identified a need for them in Worthington,” explained ODHC Chief Operating Officer Jen Theneman said. “We’re trying to fill the gap for our mobile services in southwest Minnesota, and possibly be able to help more people with our services.”
The purpose of the forum is to discuss the health needs of the Worthington area. It also gives a chance for people to learn more about ODHC’s mobile medical and dental services.
“We started this mobile program about a year and half ago,” Theneman said. “We would have people from all over come to our locations, but when the recession hit we stopped seeing those people in, for example, these rural areas.
“By offering our mobile services in more places where we feel there is a need, we can encompass our southern Minnesota coverage area and hopefully shorten the drive for some of our patients,” she added.
ODHC officials are looking to hear what the public’s needs are.
“We want to hear people’s different perspectives and opinions,” Theneman said. “We’d like to find out more from the public before we say, ‘Yes, we’re officially coming.’”
ODHC is a safety net health care provider. It doesn’t compete with existing local providers, but rather partners with them to provide access to patients who would otherwise not be able to get care due to various barriers.
The mobile service reduces the number of people who only access treatment in an emergency situation, and increases the number of people seeking preventative and basic health care.
“We are still relatively new to this area, and we want the opportunity to network and see what the need is for Worthington,” Theneman said. “That’s why we opened it up to a broader forum. I believe it creates community awareness.”
Tours of the mobile unit will also be available to the public at the forum.
Daily Globe Reporter
Erin Trester may be reached at 376-7322.