An Open Door to a Free Community Clinic
In November of 2018, Joseph Neal and Brooks Johnson, chaplains at the hospital and leaders of Faith Health were interested in getting a group of people together to talk about offering the underserved community in High Point additional access to healthcare. There had previously been a nurse clinic at Open Door Ministries. However, when Ruth Payne, a local nurse retired the clinic fell to the wayside. A highly involved volunteer and supporter of Open Door Ministries got together with our Shelter Director, Will Bohaboy, and Case Manager, Katherine Kelly, to begin brainstorming what it would look like to get the clinic up and running again.
Many of the homeless population unfortunately do not have easy access to healthcare. This can result in individuals having repeat visits to the Emergency Room for something that could be handled by seeing primary care. The excessive use of the Emergency Room by these individuals increases costs at the Emergency Room and takes a bed from someone who may need emergency care. This problem occurs as these individuals generally have no insurance and nowhere else to go to get the help they need.
Several nurses from the Emergency Department, Linda Newton (a former director of the Emergency Department), and a non-clinical volunteer were willing to operate and reopen the clinic at Open Door Ministries one night a week. As of February 2019, a schedule of volunteer nurses was set and over-the-counter medicine, equipment, and supplies were purchased. The clinic reopened and has continued uninterrupted, since then, with the exception of a brief period when Covid-19 began. Over time several nurses have rotated out and others have volunteered to help.
In Spring, 2021, we decided to add Nurse Practitioners to the clinic, so that some prescriptions could be written and take care of basic health illnesses of the men at the shelter. Kelly Flynt from a local Urgent Care and four other Nurse Practitioners have joined us in making this part of the clinic possible. As of this July, the clinic is open every Monday evening from 5 pm-7 pm. The clinic has been open to community agencies, such as the women’s shelter at West End Ministries, Salvation Army, and others.
Since the clinic has opened, we have helped arrange a self-defense class for staff at Open Door Ministries and purchased a new AED. We have also been able to provide taxi rides to medical appointments for the residents at the men’s shelter. We are in the process of receiving laptops for the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners to use for electronic medical records and electronic prescription accessibility. We welcome anyone in the High Point community to come and utilize the free walk-in clinic at Open Door Ministries every Monday from 5 pm-7 pm. For more information, please call 336-885-0191.