Stimulus funds to aid Open Door

  • Updated: March 2, 2009 - 10:03 PM

The Open Door Health Center in Mankato will receive $1.3 million from the new federal stimulus package, officials said Monday, allowing it to probably more than double the number of low-income and uninsured patients it sees this year.

The two-year grant is part of $155 million in federal stimulus funds that will go to 126 U.S. community clinics.

Started in 1993, Open Door provided medical and dental care last year to about 3,000 patients. "There's so much unmet need in the 10 counties we serve," said executive director Sarah Kruse. She said the clinic turns away about 100 dental patients a month. "The grant will be a huge help, because good dental care prevents a lot of other health problems."

Partnering with area clinics and hospitals has helped prevent a waiting list for medical care, she said. The grant will allow the clinic to expand its staff of 25, including one full-time physician, one full-time dentist and three part-time dentists.

About half the clinic's $1.1 million 2008 budget came from sliding-scale patient fees and the rest mainly from grants and donations, including a $350,000 state grant.

Most of the 50 community health clinics in Minnesota get some federal support, but Open Door is the sole Minnesota recipient in the stimulus package.

WARREN WOLFE

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