County donates $1,000 to Open Door clinic

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners approved Tuesday a $1,000 donation to a Mankato medical and dental clinic that serves residents without access and offers income-based discounts to those who qualify.

Open Door Health Center, 309 Holly Lane, Mankato, served 5,275 needy patients at 15,404 appointments in 2012. Service included 184 Brown County residents who made 576 visits last year, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

The clinic serves patients enrolled in Minnesota Medicaid programs, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Patients without insurance or on high-deductible plans may apply for sliding fee discounts.

“As the need for access to affordable health care services continues, Open Door Health Center is here as a safety net,” Open Door CEO Sarah Kruse, wrote in a July 5 letter to the county board.

Kruse said since gasoline prices rose over the past couple years, needy dental patients from Gaylord, Marshall and Dodge Center stopped coming to the clinic so a mobile lab now visits those cities.

Brown County Lay Board member Judy Kuster encouraged people to visit the clinic that serves all people including those with severe disabilities. Services include breast and cancer screening, urgent care, immunizations, tobacco cessation counseling, dental extractions, dental crowns and emergency care.

“You can’t find a nicer clinic, and they run on a tight budget,” Kuster said.

Call 507-388-2120 or visit for more information.

In other action, commissioners:

Approved a July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 contract with Avera McKennan Behavioral Health Center, Sioux Falls, S.D. to handle overflow pre-commitments that New Ulm Medical Center (NUMC) may not be able to handle due to volume.

Contractor duties include Mental Health Order and Civil Commitment Beds and Services.

These services include confinement, observation, psychiatric, diagnostic, evaluation, nursing, family education and support services, group and individual therapy, medications and medication administration.

Expressive therapy including recreation therapy and other treatment services specified by the patient’s treatment plan including chemical dependency and psychiatric treatment are also offered.

Services unit costs to eligible clients cannot exceed $870 a day for hospital services. Charges greater than $10,000 will become the patient’s responsibility, according to the RBA.

Accepted a $2,784 Adoption and Foster Care Recruitment grant for July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015 for software to help Family Services find relatives, family and neighbors around the globe who may be interested in caring for a child in county adoption and foster care programs plus the child support system.

Increased the on-call rate for the Chief Deputy, Jail Captain and Communications Lieutenant to $110/weekend and $55/day, the same weekly rate as probation agents and social workers receive.

Unlike on-call probation agents and social workers, the Chief Deputy, Jail Captain and Communications Lieutenant are also on call the entire week, weekends, and holidays.

Denied by a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Andy Lochner dissenting, an additional $17,296 payment to Sleepy Eye Public School District 84.

The formula for District 84 in 2012-13 resulted in only a $1,232 payment back to District 84 due to excess earnings the County had from targeted case management, according to the RBA.

District 84 families and children referred to the Family Facilitator program were not as eligible as in the past or as in the other two county districts for Medical Assistance (MA), according to the RBA.

The recommendation to use $17,296 of the $48,328 grant to Sleepy Eye comes from a concern that the old formula, which began in 1994, doesn’t sufficiently recognize the volatility of the referral mechanism that serves all public and private school students in the county.

In addition, because the project is administered through schools, families cannot be charged for the service no matter what their income is. The formula has never followed the program referral mechanism well, according to the RBA.

The formula will continue for one more school year before a new one will be used to better reflect Special Education reimbursement rules, according to the RBA.

Tabled for further direction repair to County Ditch (CD) 1, Section 19, Milford Township. The ditch was not working, Milford Township investigated and called for repair after having Schaefer Well Co. dig it open and close. Heiderscheidt Digging was called for permanent repair.

Concluded the administration of the Energy Assistance Program (EAP) as of the end of the 2012-13 program year through Family Services. The Oct. 1 start of the Affordable Care Act, will add more than 500 families and individuals to the MA/MinnesotaCare program, which is now overseen by Family Services.

Brown County Family Services Director Tom Henderson said he expects the Minnesota Valley Action Council to administer energy assistance program in the future.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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