Dr. Keith Weaver, a former U. S. Navy physician, holds with his three-year-old son, Hawk Weaver, as he updates records on his compuer in between seeing patients in his office in Hixson.Staff photo by John Rawlston
Four chairs sit in the waiting room of Compassionate Health Care in Hixson, a primary care practice that opened in May.
Its sole physician and owner, Dr. Keith Weaver, said the perceived lack of seating was done on purpose.
"Our office is a big part of how we try to do things," he said. "I tell people if I've got more than four people out there, I have somebody back here that's dying ... or something happened, something went wrong. I don't want people to have to wait three hours."
Weaver said when he opened his practice on the north end of Highway 153, the goal was to make it as inviting and homelike as possible.
The New York native spent five years in the Navy on a scholarship for medical school, interning at the Naval Medical Center in Virgina, working in a substance abuse and rehabilitation center and working with the SeaBees, the naval construction corps, before landing in Hixson.
His wife, Jennifer, is from the area and they had always planned to settle here. He finished his service in August 2009 and briefly worked at an area practice before deciding to open Compassionate Health Care.
"A lot of people were saying, 'You should try to start up your own business,'" Keith Weaver said. "So I sat down with my wife and talked about it, and we said, 'Well let's do it.' It wasn't anything we really had planned out."
But it seems like everything has fallen into place so far, the couple said.
The location was formerly a doctor's office, so there was minimal work that needed to be done to get it ready, and the couple was able to buy much of their medical equipment from a practice that had gone out of business.
Jennifer Weaver helps her husband and the practice's two nurses by filling in. She said it's been scary opening up a business during the down economy, but so far it's been successful, something she attributes to its uncommon approach.
"Most doctor's offices just slap a number on your back and you wait," she said. "Here, we want to develop an actual relationship with the patients."
Since opening, the office's biggest hurdle has been getting squared away with insurance companies. Keith Weaver said when he opened he had a goal of seeing 50 patients a week within his first six months, but started to average that within about three months.
"We have had a pretty good volume considering we're brand new," he said. "We have really taken off."
Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...