Open Door Health Center began as a volunteer clinic in 1983 and later became The Wellness Center.
In 1989, community members gathered to discuss health-related problems of Greater Mankato. The group included government representatives, educators, health care providers and other community members. They formed the Council for Health Action and Promotion. CHAP focuses on adolescent problems such as alcohol and drug use and sexual activity.
In 1992, community and CHAP members gathered again. They conducted surveys and found that the area had a large number of under- and un-insured people. Many people were unable to pay for prescription medication, emergency care and dental care.
The group accepted funding from Immanuel-St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Region Nine Development Commission. The funding was used to create a non-profit organization: Open Door Health Center. The Open Door board of directors believes that health is a basic right and all people should have access to health care services. Open Door has worked hard to provide affordable and safe health care.
In March 1994, Open Door was open three hours a day, three days a week. The center was managed by nurses who provided health care services to women and children. Volunteers made up most of the center’s health care providers. They offered medication help, blood pressure and diabetic screenings, immunizations, behavioral and nutritional counseling and exams for women and school-age children.
In a few years, it became clear many of Open Door’s patients were unable to access the existing healthcare system. They did not qualify for government insurance programs but did not make enough money to afford private health insurance. In addition to preventive care, patients requested Open Door provide treatment.
In 1996, Open Door received more funding and hired a part-time family nurse practitioner. The nurse and physician volunteers offered their services, increasing Open Door’s weekly hours from nine to 16.
Open Door moved to a larger facility in June 2000. By 2001, funding from Immanuel-St. Joseph’s Hospital and United Way increased Open Door’s hours. Open Door offered its services 24 hours a week, open weekdays and one evening. The phone was answered 40 hours a week.
Open Door received three grants in 2001. It improved its services with grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Minnesota Department of Health and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation. The funding allowed the paid staff to increase from 5 to 25 full- and part- time employees. The grants provided money for medication assistance, dental care, medical care, foreign language interpretation, social work, collaboration with Minnesota State University, Mankato, community outreach, and development of a management information system.
In April 2002, Open Door moved to its current location on Holly Lane. A group of orthopedic physicians donated its 10,000 square-foot building to Open Door. The building provided Open Door with space to expand services.
In 2007, Open Door applied for and was granted FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) Look-A-Like status.
In 2009, Open Door applied for and was granted full-fledged FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) status. This designation allowed Open Door to receive additional funding to enable enhancement and expansion of services and staffing. While Open Door still has many volunteers, staff are primarily compensated for their expertise.
Through the generosity of the Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic fund, Open Door Health Center received a grant in 2011 to establish a mobile health program that offered medical and dental services in a mobile environment through deployment of a mobile medical clinic and a mobile dental clinic. The clinics officially "rolled out" in March 2012 with stops across southern Minnesota.
In May 2012, again due to the generosity of the Healthier Minnesota Community Clinic Fund, Open Door opened a new dental clinic addition which replaced the existing clinic, featuring eight operatories including a pediatrics room, a Pan X-Ray and a Likorall lift which safely moves wheelchair bound patients into a dental chair.
In June 2012, Open Door received the announcement that it was the recipient of a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to renovate its current facility for improved patient care. The grant is one of the administration’s Capital Development — Building Capacity Grants. Construction will begin in 2013.
Also in June 2012, Open Door received announcement of a New Access Point grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration. This grant gives the Open Door Heath Center's mobile health program Federally Qualified Health Center status, providing additional financial support enabling additional days of service to more areas.