The Man Behind the Mask
By Jenny Houck
There’s much more to Newport Hospital’s Dr. Timothy Chavis than a surgical mask and steady scalpel. He’s an avid outdoorsman, a family man, a friend, a neighbor, and a trusted colleague. Look a bit closer and you’ll see a man with a vision…a vision built on American medical practice of the past and a mission to return to that same standard of personal care delivery.
Tim Chavis was raised just outside of Chattanooga in Cleveland, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences in Memphis prior to completing his General Surgery residency at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital in Roanoke, Virginia. His professional appointments include professorships at Virginia Commonwealth University as well as University of Virginia Medical Center, and his resume proves years of dedication, expertise, and leadership in the surgical field. He and his wife, Julie, have been married for 35 years and have three children: Christy, Reed, and Anna.
Initially, Dr. Chavis assumed they would move to Whidbey Island. As an avid sailor, it seemed like the perfect choice. Nonetheless, he interviewed first with Newport Hospital and Health Services and the decision was easy. “We liked everyone we met, and we loved the area…it was unique.” When asked about his first impression of the hospital, he responded, “The people here are so proud of this place…they really believe it is theirs. They have an amazing commitment to healthcare.”
With healthcare legislative changes on the horizon, Dr. Chavis is positive about the district’s response and the move towards a medical home model of care delivery. “You can resist change all you want, or you can use it to your benefit. We’re ahead of the curve and way ahead of the game with physician integration in the system.”
Chavis further explained that Newport Hospital provides a historical look of what healthcare looked like back in the day and how it should look in the future. “Although there are some people who are better served in town, for the stuff we do, we do it very efficiently. I can walk down the street to talk to other docs…that’s the way medicine used to be. It was patient-focused. What we do here is the way medicine used to be done.”
“We provide a good service here. For what we do, we do it as well or better than larger hospitals. Our providers are committed to this community. There’s nothing better than having providers who know your family. Locals have a good thing here. [Healthcare reform] and the market are forcing hospitals and providers to merge together to provide the best service and evidence-based medicine. Everyone here has the same goals…we are all on the same team.”
Outlining a recent experience, he added, “I got a call from a local provider that there was an abnormality with a local patient’s routine mammogram. Other views showed something irregular, so I walked down to the waiting room, walked her back to radiology, went into ultrasound, and found a breast tumor. On Thursday, we did a core biopsy of the tumor. On Monday, she was in my office. It was cancer, so we made plans to deal with it. The following week, she had a lumpectomy, and now she is recovering at home. She didn’t have to go to town and be seen later. She didn’t have to leave her family doctor (Dr. Ragsdale). I was just down the hall, and we provided the same service she would have received if she’d gone into town.”
Another, more advanced cancer patient’s story was like this: “I got a call on a Thursday from the woman’s provider, so I did the consult and biopsy with radiology. It turned out to be clinical stage 3 breast cancer with positive nodes. By Monday, I had spoken with the oncologist in Spokane, and by Tuesday, she was in the oncologist’s office preparing a treatment plan.”
Regarding Newport Hospital’s care delivery, he replied. “There is more of a personal touch here. Babies, primary care, pediatrics, adults, geriatrics…because we do all of that inside the hospital, people can be reassured they will see their doctor. For physicians to know their patients is huge…in town, you don’t really get that. What you get here is the way medicine was meant to be practiced.”
As a General Surgeon, Dr. Chavis performs many different types of surgeries including: gall bladder, hernia, breast, colon, skin, skin cancer, lower and upper endoscopy, and some trauma surgery. He’s truly confident in his surgical team at the hospital, “They are a team that works really well together.” Concerning the hospital’s operating room and surgical equipment, Dr. Chavis believes that NHHS rates extremely high. “We have everything we need, and we have a great nursing staff!”
As a Pend Oreille County resident, Dr. Chavis and his wife are imbedded in the community. Julie Chavis is a Master Gardener and highly involved in the Master Gardener Club in Newport. When asked if local patients likely see Dr. Chavis at the grocery store, she smiled and replied, “Maybe not the grocery store, but they will definitely see him at the hardware store.”
For more information on surgical services offered by Newport Hospital and Health Services, contact your local provider and visit the website at www.phd1.org.