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