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April 23, 2024

Dr. Merrill transitioning to private medical practice


AT CATAWBA VALLEY FAMILY MEDICINE — The unexplained decision to terminate Dr. Steven Merrill from employment at Catawba Valley Family Medicine was made Monday, June 25. Merrill, who has thousands of local patients, will seek to open a private medical practice to continue serving Alexander County residents.


Dr. Steven Merrill, MD, who until this week practiced medicine at Catawba Valley Family Medicine – Taylorsville, is working to reassure his patients that he plans to continue their medical care, despite being dismissed from the medical group.

Dr. Merrill, 66, told The Times by phone that he was called in from his vacation period on Monday evening, June 25, 2018, to Catawba Valley Family Medicine. When Merrill arrived, he was told that Catawba Valley was cutting ties with him. He was informed that he is no longer an employee of Catawba Valley Health Systems. The doctor said he was given no reason except that Catawba Valley Health Systems wanted “to go in a different direction.”

Merrill’s office had been completely cleaned out.

He is working to obtain his patients’ contact information from Catawba Valley Health Systems in order to notify patients of the change.

“I have faithfully served the residents of Alexander County for the past 38-plus years. My heart has always been with the citizens of the county,” Merrill told The Times. For financial reasons, and the difficulty of managing a private practice, Merrill joined with Catawba several years ago. “Nevertheless, very suddenly, last night, with no forewarning…the company cut me loose…with no explainable reason.”

He noted that he has had no lawsuits and still has his valid North Carolina medical license.

“I am concerned with the many thousands of patients I provide care for in Alexander County. I’m exploring other options to continue to do medical care in the county,” he added.

Dr. Merrill’s intention is to continue refills on his current patients’ medications by prescription at local pharmacies for the next four months. He will be in contact with the local pharmacists.

“I also ask for prayers to give me guidance in terms of where to go next,” Merrill stated.

According to biographical information on Catawba Valley Family Medicine’s website, Dr. Merrill is a graduate of Ohio State University School of Medicine. Merrill completed internship and residency in Family Practice from the Medical College of Virginia. His special interests include involvement in a local Christian church, teaching sexual abstinence programs for local schools, writing, and photography. Dr. Merrill and his wife, Shirley, have eleven children.

Dr. Merrill is the author of several Christian books, including: Bible Stories with Prophetic Connections: Probing Sermons for Inquisitive Preachers, The Power of God’s Word, and My Epic Journey Through the Wilderness: The Exodus in the Eyes of a Boy, The Epic Battle for God’s Seed: Satan’s War with God and The Least of These: The Biblical Case for Missions to the Poor. The last two books listed were edited by his son, Dr. Nathan Merrill, according to

The Times reached out to Catawba Valley Health Systems but administrators declined to comment on the situation.


  1. Cheryl Troxtel on June 27, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear this. Dr.Merrill has known me since childhood. I trust him as my doctor and also respect him. I know he cares for my health and over all well being. I know the Lord will show you what to do. He may have to close one door so that we can walk through another one. Prayers for you and your family.

  2. Libby Miller on June 27, 2018 at 10:49 pm

    Dr. Merrill has doctored my son over the years. He is a very caring and loving person. I feel that it was very wrong of the administration to have not given him a valid reason for dismissing him. They should not have invaded his privacy by cleaning out his office without his consent. I feel for the others that work there.

  3. Randall on June 27, 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Dr Merrill is the most caring doctor I have ever meet. He was my fathers doctor and has been my doctor for over 30 years. He takes the time to listen to his patients and works with all people. He is a man of God and a terrific person to lose this man as a doctor or friend is a great lose to the community

  4. Lynda Dowdy on June 28, 2018 at 8:22 am

    This is good news for both Mike and me. He has been Dr. Merrill’s patient for at least 13 years. Dr. Merrill has been monitoring meds on Mike, which require periodic blood tests. Also, Dr. Merrill alerted him to a squamous cell skin cancer several years ago which was successfully treated. It would have been problematic to say the least to find another doctor willing to take Mike on as a patient, even for monitoring. Thank you, Dr. Merrill, for your years of help and friendship!

  5. Barbara and tommy cothren on June 28, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    We have been patients of dr Merrill for 40 years and I am devastated … this is so unfair .. he is a caring dr you can always depend on . I think this is so wrong .. we need doctors like Merrill … this needs to be fixed!!! Barbara and Tommy Cothren

  6. Bryan Henderson on June 28, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I have known Dr. Merrill for a number of years. This is very unfortunate for him and for his family. I would issue a word of caution though before people jump to conclusions about Catawba. Doctors with his experience aren’t fired that way. There is a reason why they fired him and the fact that the administors won’t comment on it is telling. If everything transpired the way this article shows then Dr. Merrill could and should sue. HMO’s know this. No, there is something fishy going on. This article only presented Dr. Merrill’s side of things, almost as if he called the paper and asked them to print this for him. There is more going on here than appears here.

  7. Owen McLean on June 29, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Ouch! I think I have just cut my ties with CVMG.

  8. Joe Linney on July 10, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Dr. Merrell is a great Doctor, he has a great personality, and concern for his patient’s. Dr. Merrell

    Was my Mothers’ Doctor for many years, and he took time to talk and explain without rushing.

    He is now my Doctor. I fell he is a God cent Doctor to this county, and we need more Doctors like

    him. Dr. Merrell is a great Doctor that care about his patients.

  9. rose coleman on July 17, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    im sorry dr.merrill you are a great doctor youve have been good to me and my daughter thank you

  10. LaChelle Pennell on July 30, 2018 at 9:00 am

    This is so sad. I will be praying for Dr. Merrill. Companies are so dirty these days, but I know God will guide this man and take care of him.

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