WHY A FREE CLINIC?
“I lost my job, and I no longer could afford health insurance. I had no clue how I was going to afford my medications for my diabetes and mental health. Then my mom passed away unexpectedly… I was in a crisis.”
This note from Brigette is an example of one of over 8,000 people in Walworth County who find themselves without insurance or the resources to pay for medical care. For those without the ability to pay, the Open Arms Free Clinic is the only clinic of its kind in Walworth County, exclusively dedicated to providing primary medical and dental care to all of its qualifying patients, as well as ongoing care and navigation for those with chronic disease – all without charge.
“…Thank you for everything. I don’t know what I would have done without the caring team at Open Arms. You’re all true Angels in disguise”~ Brigette
To better understand and serve with compassion the health and wellness needs of the uninsured, low income, and underserved residents of Walworth County. Our goal is for our patients and their families to have the same primary care and attention with respect and dignity we would want for our families.
OAFC is an independent, community-based nonprofit 501(c)3 organization opened in 2012 to address those who are in the greatest need for medical care. For those without the ability to pay, OAFC is the only clinic of its kind in Walworth County, exclusively dedicated to providing both primary care to all of its patients, as well as ongoing care and management to those with chronic disease–all without charge. Walworth County, Wisconsin is located in the Southeastern region of the state and the primary industries are tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. OAFC serves the essential workers that maintain these industries, which most employers do not offer health insurance. The clinic serves individuals of all ages who live in the county, do not have health insurance, and live in a household at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The driving force that brings people to our organization is the stress of chronic disease and the economic strain it has on families. All services are free to qualifying patients, and those patients represent all 20 towns, villages, and cities in the county.
We are a volunteer-driven organization with compassionate volunteers donating over 12,000 hours annually. Volunteers have tremendous gifts to give of their time and talent, however they also have the flexibility to serve (or not) at their convenience. We aim to deliver health care as we would expect for our family and that means having consistency with care delivery. In 2015, the first paid Executive Director was hired to provide a foundation of support for the volunteers. As funding support has grown, the paid support staff has also grown.
MEET OUR LEADERSHIP TEAM
- Executive Director: Sara Nichols, MPH
- Executive Assistant: Laura Lombardo
- Development Director: Mariann Hunter
- Medical Clinic Manager: Lori Hartz, APNP
- Dental Clinic Manager: Melisa Sittler
- Programs Manager: Viviana Mena-Armas
- Culture and Systems Manager: Shannon McCarthy
- Operations Coordinator: John Castro
- Patient Care Coordinator: Jaime Wiley
- Medical Care Coordinator: Marisol Rivera
Board of Directors
2023 Board of Directors
- Jeffrey Bahr, MD, Chair
- Donna Neshek, RN, Vice Chair
- Nicholas Vorpagel, Treasurer
- Gerard Makovec, Secretary
- Rosemary Dolatowski, RN
- Thomas Hartz
- Steve Jensen
- Karen Littig, LPC
- James Lovell
- Daniel Maus
- John Murphy, Atty
- Robert Youngquist, DDS
- Rev. Daniel J. Sanders