110 North College, Tyler Texas
Phone: 903-597-8311

A History Lesson – Worth The Risk

In the early days of Bethesda Health Clinic there were many obstacles to overcome: Makeshift exam rooms. Sporadic volunteer schedules. Not enough money for supplies or meds.

A big obstacle was how to overcome the concern of some physicians that they could not “afford” to volunteer. They had the heart to serve, but many were retired and no longer had malpractice insurance. What would happen if a patient sued them or the clinic? Were their “good hearts” willing to take that risk?

Jerry Caddy was a member of the Clinic’s Advisory Board when the question of malpractice insurance came up. He contacted John Minton and Tracy Crawford, both members of First Baptist Church, and senior partners of two of the most respected law firms in the community.

In pondering the question, both Mr. Minton and Mr. Crawford saw in Bethesda a charitable organization, working hard to take care of people. Bethesda had few assets of its own and the physicians were willing to work
as volunteers. The chance of a patient suing was unlikely; yet it was worrisome.

Mr. Minton and Mr. Crawford approached their respective law firms and both agreed that they would donate legal services in the unlikely event that the physicians were sued. Though both now downplay their contribution. (“We weren’t really doing anything,” they both say), at the time their affirmation had significant meaning. Two of the biggest law firms in Tyler believed in Bethesda Health Clinic and were willing to stand behind it. The memorandum of understanding they signed fifteen years ago still stands.

“This was a way we could contribute,” says Mr. Minton, “and we all believed in the mission of Bethesda. We still do.” “What I liked then and I like now is that the patients at Bethesda pay something for their care. That gives them ownership and they appreciate that.” Throughout Bethesda’s history, the right people have stepped up at the right time, time and time again, offering just what was needed to move the Clinic forward. John Minton and Tracy Crawford were two of those people, doing their part to help this work, God’s work, serve His people.

Original Article: https://bethesdaclinic.org/wp-content/newsletters/Bethesda_News_Fall_2018.pdf