The Open Door Clinic has been an evolving organization since its inception in 1990. We literally started on wheels. With the help of a grant from Ben and Jerry’s, a bus was purchased in 1991 to increase access to healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured in Addison County, Vermont.
By 1993, a standing free clinic was established in Middlebury. A second site was settled in Vergennes 17 years later, in 2010.
We have been growing since, and now hold more than seven clinics per month.
In 2009, the ODC received a federal grant to expand our outreach to area migrant farm workers. Since then, we have grown from visiting two farms and serving 108 migrant workers, to 35 farms and eight orchards, serving 270 Latin American farm workers each fall.
As a member of the Vermont Coalition of Clinics for the Uninsured (VCCU), it has been incumbent upon us to help our patients apply for health insurance. Since 2013, we have employed a certified navigator to help not only our patients, but all community members navigate Vermont Health Connect and apply for insurance. Our navigator continues to play a pivotal and critical role towards fulfilling our mission.
In 2016, in an attempt to address the unmet need and critical gap in oral health care in our community, the Open Door Clinic launched a new dental program mirroring our clinic model. Seven local dentists have agreed to volunteer their time and see our patients free-of-charge. In January 2016, we hired our very first registered dental hygienist!
Mission: The Open Door Clinic provides access to quality healthcare services, free of charge, to those who are uninsured or under-insured and who meet financial eligibility guidelines; services are provided in a compassionate, respectful and culturally sensitive manner until a permanent healthcare provider can be established.
For many years, with the help of an amazing network of drivers called Amistad, which means “Friendship” in Spanish, the Open Door Clinic offered free transportation for migrant patients going to medical appointments not only at theOpen Door Clinic, but all the specialists in Middlebury to which they were referred.
In 2009, we provided a total of 31 rides for 24 patients. In 2014, we provided 667 rides for 165 patients, and our volunteer drivers drove 23,000 miles. The transportation services became administratively and financially challenging, and we decided to discontinue this service in July 2015.
Migrant patients who need a ride will be given a list of peer migrant workers who have a Vermont Driver’s Privilege Card.