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Caring and Giving Season: Open Door Health


December 9, 2014 by Steve Winkler

– Observer Staff-

“We are here to stay,” say the Advance Practice Nurses of Open Door Health and Community Services. OpenDoorAPRNLela Shipman and Julie Thibodaux opened their doors to offer medical care to the citizens of south Washington County on April 15, 2013. Since that time the clinic has had about 1300 patient encounters, with over 400 patients.

The caring staff is reflected in the warm presence of Carol Bursey, Receptionist and Assistant Administrator. She has had experience as an office manager and school librarian, and offers an abundance of information about their services… what they are, how much they may cost, how people can access them, and much more.

OpenDr TVShipman has long cherished the thought of a multi-disciplinary medical clinic. It was after returning from China that her vision, fueled by prayer and supported by a series of providential encounters, began to take shape. Thibodaux, who held similar hopes, was led to this endeavor after one of those chance conversations with a mutual friend, and is now the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner there.

The clinic’s mission is “to provide charitable holistic healthcare and community health services to the under-served residents of south Washington County.” Open Door offers care on a sliding scale basis. Thibodaux gave the example of one patient whose family has insurance, but cannot afford the large deductible, however was able to access care because of the clinic’s sliding scale plan. Among services are the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid disease. They also treat minor injuries.

Students from both Greenland and West Fork have been lucky enough to receive their sports physicals locally through Open Door. Additionally a counseling intern, a dietician, and diabetic education are available. When asked what other message they would like to the communities to know, Shipman, the Administrator and Family Nurse Practitioner, replied, “Encourage them to be aware of the value of preventive health care. We provide yearly physicals; PAP smears…and we have options for getting colonoscopies and applying for assistance for medications.”OpenDrExm 2

Open Door is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the under-served and underinsured.  The clinic is happy to accept donations. Certainly monetary contributions are quite welcome, but also staples such as toilet paper are helpful. They appreciate contributions,  such as peanut butter, canned goods, cereal, and rice for the Food Pantry, as well as hygiene supplies.  To donate or if anyone needs  assistance from Open Door Health and Community Services contact them or come by.

                                        Phone 479-294-6151

425 N. Centennial Avenue,  Suite A

West Fork, Arkansas  72774

Hours: Monday 9 am – 6 pm, Tues 11 am-6 pm, Thurs 9 am -6 pm

OpenDoor BusinessRead more about Open Door Health and Community Services and follow them on Facebook:



Steve Winkler

Steve Winkler is the publisher and editor of the Observer. Email him at

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