Sometimes there can be many barriers in the way for people who need medical or dental care, Jen Theneman said. Obstacles can range from cost to a lack of insurance or transportation, and in today's economy and job market, more people are facing them.
The Open Door Health Center's response, Theneman said, is to offer one more alternative for residents in southwest Minnesota.
Theneman, director of mobile health care services for Open Door Health Center, was in Marshall on Monday to announce Open Door's plans to bring a mobile medical and dental center to the region. Open Door is a nonprofit health care organization aimed at underserved Minnesotans.
Theneman said the organization operates with the help of state and federal funding. Although Open Door began as a single volunteer clinic in Mankato in 1993, it has expanded services across the southern part of the state.
Part of that expansion will be a pair of mobile health clinics, Theneman said. A five-year grant that will help cover administrative and capital costs made the two units possible, she said. The mobile units, one a dental clinic and one a general medical clinic, will offer a comprehensive range of services, Theneman said - everything from teeth cleaning to disease treatment and cancer screening. Open Door would work with local health care services, like Western Mental Health and Southwest Health and Human Services, to offer continuing care, she said.
Open Door offers affordable payment options, and accepts patients on Medical Assistance, patients who are uninsured or who have high-deductible insurance, said Theneman and Lindsey Vaske, also of Open Door. Translation services will also be available for patients who need them.
"We don't turn anyone away," Theneman said.
The mobile clinics are still being built at this stage, Theneman said, but Open Door hopes to have them in service by August or September. Regular stops for the mobile units will likely include Slayton and Marshall.
Theneman said area residents can call 507-388-2120 for more information about the mobile units. Information is also available online at www.opendoormobile.org.