It might seem a bit unusual for a doctor to have a tag line, but Dr. Charles Gaputis of Rogersville Family Medicine is an avowed football fan, and has “been on the line” with local football players since he opened his practice. Born and raised in Boston, he went to a high school that is even older than Harvard, and got his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Bates College, the second oldest co-ed school in the U.S. “I always wanted to be a doctor, though,” Dr. G (as he is called by his staff and patients) told me. “I was especially motivated toward the field of medicine after my father died of cancer, and that was when I was introduced to osteopathy. I got my D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bio Sciences,” he said. Dr. G served in the USAF, and left the service with the rank of Major.
Some of you may be wondering, “What is an osteopath, and how are they different from a regular medical doctor?” Dr. G gave me a bit of an education regarding that particular brand of medicine. “It was founded in 1870 by a doc named Andrew Still,” he said, and mentioned further that “What put us on the map was the Viet Nam War. Up until then, we pretty much had to practice in our own hospitals, and now we can practice anywhere.” While Osteopaths receive the same training as family practice physicians and can perform surgeries, prescribe medications, and anything else a general physician would do, many also do manipulations similar to those performed by a chiropractor. Dr. Gaputis, however, chooses not to, and by his own description is “a traditionalist.”
After his military service, (and delivering over 250 babies), he and his family settled in North Alabama, and practiced at ECM Hospital. In 1990, he opened his first practice, (which later became known as Rogersville Family Care,) and moved to its present location at 16053 US Hwy 72. Dr. G has been there ever since. There are several things which are “family” about the practice, one being that they close from 12-1:30 and all sit around a round table in the clinic’s kitchen and have lunch together. That’s certainly not something you’ll find in a big city clinic. Another is that there is a high level of camaraderie, and the staff members seem to enjoy each other, as well as the patients. Dr. G mentioned that in some cases he is treating the third generation of his original patients from when he opened his practice, but typically now he starts seeing children that are at least two years old. He also noted that in the past 25+ years, his treatment focus has gone from acute (something like an injury or chicken pox, which heals and then the person goes back to normal) to chronic, which is something that continually afflicts, such as diabetes, heart disease, or asthma. These days, most of his acute care focus comes in the form of looking after the local high school football teams, and he handles their pre-season exams. “I go to all their games, and that’s why I say I have ‘been walkin’ the line since ’89,’” he said with a smile.
Dr. Gaputis’ staff includes Hope Snoddy Hagan, a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, Brandy Belew, Office Manager, Jada Hall, Licensed Practical Nurse, Lynne Porter, Licensed Practical Nurse, Melissa Porter, receptionist, and Janna Hamm, Medical Assistant.
Recently, Rogersville Family Care has become part of the Athens-Limestone Hospital system, and Dr. G. is most pleased with the new relationship and affiliation. He is able to give his employees better benefits, and says that the new system is kind of like a hybrid. It’s still the same small town feel, “but with better patient support, accessibility to the Athens-Limestone Hospital system, and an upgraded record keeping system.”
I asked him why I should come to Rogersville Family Care if I were in the market for a doctor. “We work hard for our patients,” he said. By that he meant that he makes sure that “patients get the same treatment, whether or not they have great insurance or none at all.” Upon occasion, in very special cases, they will do home visits, and will work with patients’ assistance to help facilitate payment of their medical bills. He also added, “I listen to my patients, and look them in the eye.” If that is the type of doctor you are looking for, then Dr. Charles Gaputis and his staff are waiting to take care of you.
Rogersville Family Care
16053 US Hwy 72 Rogersville, AL 35652
Phone: (256) 247-3818
Hours: Monday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM
Wednesday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM
Thursday: 7:30AM – 4:30PM
Friday: 7:30AM – 12:00PM
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner