Dr. Timothy Bell plans to leave family medicine and open a medical consulting business, aimed at treating a range of patients.
Bell is a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which he says comes with the same training as a medical doctor but with different philosophies. He says rather than treating a single symptom, he aims to treat the mind, body and spirit, as he believes they’re all connected.
Bell practices family medicine in Roane County but will retire September 30. His next venture is at 155 East Race Street in Kingston. Bell will treat patients for a range of issues including: diabetes, hypertension, obesity, smoking cessation and drug addiction.
He plans to take patients by referral-only initially, as he fears he may be rumored a pill pusher. A social media post alleges Bell is opening a suboxone clinic.
“There’s a difference between a program that you’re going to for help and just writing a prescription to keep you on an opioid,” Bell said.
Suboxone is actually a brand of a combination of bupanorphine and nalaxone. Bell says he does prescribe the combination to stabilize people with opioid addiction, but in conjunction with a treatment plan spanning eight months.
He says counseling is an essential part of effectively kicking drug addiction, including “learning how to deal with life, stress, and pain and addiction,” he added.
He believes naysayers look at medicines like suboxone as “trading one drug for another,” defending his venture.
“That’s the difference between a suboxone clinic and a treatment program. You reduce the dose systematically and get counseling and you learn to live in your own environment, where you’re meeting with your family and your friends. You’re working, providing for your family, you’ve got your life back. It just takes time because off the way I developed the program. It takes eight months to get through the program,” he added.
Working outside a family practice, he described, will free him from the rules of insurance companies. He says this cash method will allow him to teach patients and treat them from his perspective, point of view and with the quality of care he wants to provide.
“I’m not an opiate withdrawal specialist and I’m not certified in addiction medicine. I’m a family physician. I just happen to have a very good program to help people get off the opioids,” he added.
He also touts his quitting smoking plan, which he says helps prevent weight gain.
He said he’d be lying if he said the accusations against his next venture aren’t hurtful, but he’s still looking into the next stage of his career with optimism.
A drug enforcement expert, with no knowledge about Bell’s venture, says suboxone clinics can be helpful under the right circumstances. He says there needs to be a goal to be met, rather than promoting long-term opioid use. The expert says sometimes the clinics don’t go about it the right way by ignoring important screening techniques and psychological treatment. These are all things Dr. Bell claims will be a part of his next venture.