Rural Health Clinic of the Cumberlands, Inc., 9400 Sparta Highway near Pleasant Hill announced they will close their doors effective Jan. 1, 2016. Unfortunately, no other doctor has come forward to take over the facility and Dr. Harold Lowe’s health continues to worsen and he and his wife, Diana, will retire.
Dr. Lowe served as medical director and Diana as executive director when they started the Rural Health Clinic in August 2006 with 43 patients. All of these patients were uninsured or underinsured adults. The clinic provided low-cost office visits, patient education, labs, X-rays, prescription assistance and much more to the roughly 1000 patients they now serve each year. Most of these patients have little or no income, but nobody is turned away for lack of money.
Most of their clientele come from Crossville, but they reach out to Sparta, Monterey and Fairfield Glade as well. Many chronic conditions existed such as diabetes, high blood pressure and respiratory conditions requiring long-term medications and other medical supplies. The clinic's healthcare providers and patient advocates were able to obtain medications directly from pharmaceutical companies at no cost to the patient.
The clinic relied on the generosity of individuals, local businesses, community organizations, churches, state grants, corporations, and the United Fund of Cumberland County to finance program expenses all of these years.
Dr. Lowe and Diana date back several years to the time they met in Topeka, Kansas. The good doctor just celebrated his 85th birthday. For many years he provided his dedicated medical talent in several USA cities and states along the way. He left lasting impressions every place he went as is witnessed from a letter he received from Sacramento, California.
Noreen Hanson sent a letter recently about her husband, Art. She stated, “Your whereabouts was always on my ‘Bucket List’ and I was overjoyed when my daughter located a Dr. Harold Lowe in Tennessee.” She went on to say, “You first touched our lives in November 1972, and have been in our thoughts and prayers ever since. I always wanted to tell you how important it was to our family that you took a few minutes one November evening after your rounds at Mercy General Hospital to speak to us. It was no doubt another exhausting day for you, but you took the time to listen to my mother’s concern regarding the casual office visit my husband had earlier that day which ended with a tiny bottle of Nitroglycerin and instructions to take it as needed.
"You then had my mother call us to bring my husband to the hospital right away, which ended up being a miracle. He was admitted and had an angiogram the next day. That evening when I came to visit I can still see your tall frame sitting on the edge of the bed sketching the coronary artery problem to my husband.
“Two evenings later on a rainy November night, you came into the hospital room and announced that you were sending an ambulance in minutes for a trip to Stanford Hospital. The next day Art had the new medical bypass. Due to your concern and caring nature, Art was with us for 33 additional years. He saw our children grow up and enjoyed his granddaughter and grandson.”
Many Rural Health Clinic patients have verbally expressed the same thank you for saving their lives. Dr. Lowe’s wife, Executive Director Diana Gustafson, commented, ”We have been a family of loving and caring people at the clinic since 2006 with a group of loving and caring staff and patients. We are sorry that it all will come to an end in January 2016 after 10 wonderful years. May God bless all of you.”