New doctor brings family care to Liberty Hill
By WAYLON CUNNINGHAM
Dr. Walter Chesshir is new to town, but he’s no stranger to small towns. Using his far-reaching experience and comfortable charm, this family doctor and Hill Country native has breathed new life into Liberty Hill’s local medical practice, Liberty Hill Physician Associates.
“He’s a blessing,” says the clinic’s office manager, Barbara Bingham Sanders.
She and the clinic’s two other staffers have seen the daily number of patient visits nearly double since the beginning of August, because along with Dr. Chesshir has come an expanded range of care options. The pace is “professionally comfortable,” Sanders says.
Dr. Chessir says he’s pleased with the amount of new patients, but, “there’s a still a lot of room to grow.”
“Healing is a passion,” he says, and the more people he sees, the closer a connection he can develop with the community. Plus, he adds, “I like to keep busy.”
Staffers point to Dr. Chesshir’s personal demeanor as a large part of the clinic’s popularity. Sanders calls it his “calming bedside manner.”
That the clinic now can practice “family care” also plays a large role. It now can provide for children and the elderly in addition to adults, and can count preventative care and wellness among its major focuses.
Between Dr. Chesshir’s experience and the clinic’s new buffed-up set of equipment, an entire family can have their health needs taken care of at Liberty Hill Physician Associates. That includes the two-year old with a sore throat, the teenager with a broken arm, the uncle who wants to lose weight, and the grandmother with the flu.
From skin cancer removal to joint injections, the range of in-house medical treatments available now is both far-reaching and age-adapted.
“Each patient is an individual, so each treatment should be tailored to the patient,” he says. “There’s not a standard recipe.”
A woman he saw recently, for instance, was preparing to compete in an Iron Man competition, so, he says, her care when she’s sick might be different.
Knitted across the treatments, however, is a common approach.
“I talk with the patients, not at them,” he says. He uses language “everyone can understand,” and avoids medical jargon when possible. He seeks above all else to let the patient know that he sees them “as a human being, and not just a patient.”
“It’s important for me to establish a connection with the patient, and to try to put them at ease. I always want to let them know that I see them as a human, and not just a patient.
The benefits of such age-dynamic care are not just seen by families spanned across generations, but also by any individuals who hope to keep a familiar doctor over the course of years.
There are some men and women who first saw Dr. Chesshir as patients over 10 years ago in the countryside south of San Antonio, and who still make the trek to him wherever he is for their annual check-up.
The staff, too, or “the girls,” as he calls them, have cultivated long-time relationships with patients that have earned the Liberty Hill clinic a devoted cast of travelers from the greater area.
Though the three began at the clinic during its opening year in 2012, the decades of experience they can collectively count working elsewhere in the Cedar Park Regional Medical Care Center brought those patients to this small and unassuming clinic.
Sanders, a Liberty Hill local, is a certified medical assistant and a national registered EMT. Elaine Brown, from Florence, is also a certified medical assistant with almost 20 years experience.
Dian Hubbard, the receptionist, says she has gotten to know the clinic’s patients well enough over the years to call many of them friends.
“Some people who come in here for the first time don’t even know much about what kind of insurance they have, they’ll just pull out their card” she says. “But I always make sure that by the time they leave, they’ve been helped, that they know all about what care their provider offers.”
It is an approach that has earned her the esteem of many patients who now call the clinic their trusted provider.
Dr. Chesshir’s career in medicine began many years ago. Soon after completing his education at New York Medical College, he began practicing in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, where he took care of farmers and ranchers. He has also spent years practicing emergency medicine in South Dakota and Minnesota.
Though the small towns are different, he says, people’s bodies are the same everywhere.
“They get sick in the same ways, whether you’re in North Dakota or South Dakota,” he said.
But Liberty Hill is different in at least one way. Between all the places he has called home — Denver, Nashville, Austin and more — Liberty Hill feels like “coming home.”
“We’re here to stay,” he says.