Fired physician who blames 'corporate downfall of healthcare' raises money to reopen practice

When Robert Steves, MD, a popular physician at University Medical Center's Lebanon, Tenn.-based Heritage Family Care, was terminated without official reason, he received an outpouring of support from his patients.

Dr. Steves, known to many as "Dr. Bob," is channeling this support — which came in the form of good words and $4,300 in funds — into reopening his practice for his estimated 3,000 patients, according to The Tennessean.

Dr. Steves received the donations from more than 20 donors on a GoFundMe account and plans to use it to gain the proper credentials and malpractice insurance to open a limited liability company, The Town Doctor, according to the report. He aims to make his new practice a more relaxing experience for patients with same and next day appointments, and texting, email and video conferencing, according to his GoFundMe page. He plans to sustain the practice through a membership-based service, which can potentially be applied to patients' deductibles, depending on the payer and plan. His page also says the practice will service a portion of Medicare patients.

Dr. Steves hopes his new business will make change, merging old-fashioned service with modern healthcare. He said he was fired from Heritage Family Care after making repeated requests for more staff to address the growing number of patients and administrative tasks.

"This happens every day to physicians, and most go away quietly and find another job," Dr. Steves told The Tennessean. "Most people think doctors and greed have driven the healthcare crisis. But in my opinion it's the hospital systems, the equipment and device charges on tests that are done … the cost for caring for a patient in the hospital is just extraordinary."

He plans to open his practice in Lebanon, according to the report. Dr. Steves' GoFundMe page is available here.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Heritage Family Care was based in Lebanon, N.H. It is located in Lebanon, Tenn.  


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