There is a brand new doctor in town. Thomas Mathew Jr., M.D., is a board certified family practitioner who leads the Newton Medical Family Practice Center, a new facility based in Covington.
Mathew, known as "Dr. Tom" by his patients, moved to Covington from Hartselle, Ala., early this year hoping to concentrate his efforts in the local community.
"In Alabama, I had my own practice with in-patient and out-patient responsibilities and acted as the hospitalist for both myself and another busy family practice with two doctors. I also did some weight loss clinic coverage and was the covering doctor for the New Vision alcohol and drug addiction program. It was too many irons in the fire, and I was exhausted all the time," Mathew said.
Mathew provides a variety of care that extends beyond child and pediatric care. He also treats chronic illness such as diabetes, hypertension, allergies, asthma and COPD. He accepts patients ranging between 2 weeks old to the elderly.
"There are a lot of family practices out there that don’t see children under 12 because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of vaccines. Family practices should see all ages, including the kids," Mathew said. "I love seeing the kids. They energize me. I have a 4-year-old son, and that plays a part in taking care of the children."
One of Mathew’s specialties that separates him from other doctors is his ability to initiate patients in taking an active role in their health.
"The thing I love most about my job is the immediacy of results. When a patient takes the bull by the horns and actively takes control of their health, it’s so incredible and encouraging. They would follow up a week or two later and they’re doing so much better than they have in years," Mathew said. "Patients are not allowed to say, ‘you’re the doctor.’ Invariably, when they say that, they now have license to go out and do whatever they want and their doctor would just put them on medication. Then they wonder why the medicine doesn’t work. So I would counter with ‘you’re the patient. It’s your blood, your labs and your health. Let’s take some active control.’"
The medical center began seeing patients on May 17 of this year and is only growing busier by the day. The clinic accepts most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid. As an extension of Newton Medical, Mathew has medical staff privileges from Newton Medical Center and regularly refers to the specialists in the Newton Medical network whenever necessary.
"But as long as they help me help them see how to go a better route with their health, a lot of times they won’t need a specialist," Mathew said. "It’s not all about prescription medicine; I will encourage them to do whatever it takes in terms of actively taking control of their health."
An avid fan of weightlifting and karaoke, Mathew enjoys the community in Covington.
"I love it here. It’s hard to believe that you can be so close to Metropolitan downtown Atlanta and still be in a beautiful bedroom community," Mathew said. "I’m hoping some of the karaoke bars in the area will promote a no smoking policy, as it will attract more families and children."
The Newton Medical Center Family Practice is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to noon and 1-5 p.m. Mathew hopes to extend those hours in the coming months. Appointments and walk-ins are welcome.