Patients raise cash to help beloved doctor start own practice
LEBANON, TN — Would you chip in to help your doctor open his own practice?
Patients did in Lebanon when Dr. Robert Steves was let go from University Medical Center in December.
His new office is now open and it is the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee.
“I wanted to make a difference,” said Dr. Steves to a crowd of close to a hundred Sunday evening at Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon.
Steves held the meeting to inform his old patients about his new venture.
“We have gotten back to the doctor-patient relationship again,” Steves said.
His new office is a type of primary care that allows the billing arrangement to be made between the patient and the provider. Instead of having to send claims to insurance providers, you pay a monthly membership fee to the office.
“We are seeing a movement with direct primary care and we are happy to be one of the firsts here in Middle Tennessee,” Steves said.
This new practice was made possible because of the support from patients.
After Steves was let go from University Medical Center, many took to Twitter and Facebook with outrage and then created a GoFundMe account raising $6,000 to bring the doctor back.
“Which was really helpful for us to get some of the licensing,” Steves said.
“He’s just greatly loved. He cares about his patients and I think that is why there has been this big of an outcry,” said Jim Johnston, pastor at Bridge Fellowship in Lebanon. “It speaks to the fact that he is more than a doctor. He is a fixture in our community and it also speaks about who he is.”
Steves told a local TV station he was not given a reason why he was let go, but that he believes it was because he was asking for more help.
Because of protocol, the hospital would not comment on why he was fired, but at the time, he had more than 3,000 patients.
Many of those patients said they plan on following him on his journey into this new realm of healthcare.
“I really am excited about this. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. It’s uncharted ground for me, but we have faith in the future and hope for the best so that’s what we are banking on,” said Tom Stevens, one of Steves’ patients.
“I want to give a big thank you to this community. They have been so supportive; they wrapped their arms around us to make sure were treated fairly and that we didn’t go anywhere. They want to see us back and we are glad to be back!” Steves said.
Steves is taking new patients. His office, the Town Doctor, is located at 1633 West Main Street, Suite 901.