cowles clinic

Cowles Clinic essentially brought specialty health care to Lake Oconee and the surrounding area, and that mission is still very much at the heart of what happens at the world-renowned medical campus each day.

Cowles Clinic is privately owned by Dr. Robert Cowles and other entities. Its patient-friendly, convenient campus is made up of nine buildings that patients can easily walk between while seeing a wide variety of specialists. 

Recently, Stonemont Financial Group acquired a cancer center property on the campus, but Cowles said that building had never been owned by the clinic due to state rules and regulations concerning radiation therapy centers and who could not own them at the time the clinic was built.

“The reason that we didn’t own it was because when we built it years ago, it had to be owned by radiation/oncology groups,” Cowles explained.

When the founder of that radiation group passed away, the building was sold to Northside Hospital, who only wanted to lease it, and later sold it to a company that acquires medical office space all over the country and now leases it from them. Cowles said nothing has changed on the inside of the operation. The building still sits on the Cowles Clinic campus, and he regularly walks there to do cases.

“Think of it like a college where you’ve got this big campus, and then you may have an industry that comes in and decides they’re going to build a big building there and do research,” Cowles explained. “The company that does that is building it on the campus. They own the building, but it’s still a part of the University of Georgia campus… All of the other buildings that are medical buildings here always have been and are still owned by what is called Cowles Clinic.”

Though Cowles began practicing in Greensboro in 2002 after having first practiced in Atlanta, he’s been coming to Lake Oconee since it was first built. It was a place that immediately felt like home to him. 

“I grew up in small town America, and I loved it out here,” he said.

And, he had a hunch about the level of growth that was to come for the area. 

“I had a feeling that what has happened was going to happen, and I felt like that it needed health care because there was virtually no health care,” he said.

Cowles recognized that a large portion of the people who would move to the community would be coming from cities boasting a full range of health care, and he knew they would expect a community like Lake Oconee to have its full range of healthcare, as well. 

“I felt like I was meant to be the guy that would provide that,” he said. 

For Cowles, it’s part of a family tradition. His grandfather was a doctor who was asked by the governor of Tennessee to take health care where there was no health care.

“I grew up hearing stories about that,” he said. “My dad did the same thing, and now I’m third generation doing that same thing, and it has sort of become a mission for my family that we do that, and that’s why I came here. I have always felt that people that live in rural America deserve the highest quality of healthcare and healthcare that is equal to or commensurate with the health care that you find in large metropolitan areas, and this clinic is here to prove that.”

Cowles said the clinic is meant to represent every speciality that can function either on a part-time or full-time basis in rural Georgia.

“As we move forward, we endeavor to have most every speciality in the field of medicine covered,” he said.

For instance, Cowles is currently recruiting a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon.

“That’s about as specialized as you can get,” he said.

In addition, he is also talking to hand surgeons, occupational therapists, psychologists and nephrologists.

“We’re just going to do nothing but get bigger and better… I am committed to expanding. I am committed to maintain the highest quality of care that we can, and I’m committed to the community and the area surrounding the community because we don’t just serve Greene and Putnam County.”

Cowles said the clinic serves about a 70-mile radius of patients, and they also have people that come and visit from almost every state in the U.S. and from many countries.

“So, I think we’ve proven that people will seek out the highest quality of healthcare, and we will continue to not only provide that but also expand it,” he said.

Recently, Cowles met a family that drove 2 ½ hours to get to the clinic, and they loved the fact that they could come and see several different doctors all in one day, easily walking from one office to the next. They were so impressed that they decided to move their health care from their local town to Cowles Clinic.

“That’s one of the reasons that I built it the way I built it, which is with lots and lots of ability to walk and go from one doctor’s office to the next and make it convenient,” Cowles said.

In addition to the specialties represented, Cowles Clinic also boasts a state-of-the-art imaging center where patients can get everything from x-rays to MRIs and pet scans.

Cowles said the clinic will continue to upgrade and improve not only the care that they presently give, but will strive to provide new, better and more diverse care in the future to meet the needs of a growing community. Future expansion, he said, is always part of the clinic’s modus operandi.

With hundreds of thousands of patients visiting Cowles Clinic each year, it is certainly a destination for health care. Every day, though, it comes down to helping one patient at a time.

“The most rewarding thing that I get to do outside of my family everyday at this clinic is help sick people get well, and that is what it’s all about,” Cowles said. “It is about helping people who are sick get well and helping people that are well stay well. It’s as simple as that, and it comes down to one patient at a time.”

React to this story:


Trending Video

Recommended for you