Dr. Paul J. Agatiello has always had a special relationship with people, whether it be in his medical office or otherwise. This genuine appeal and concern has now developed into a free medical advice clinic for Bristol residents inside the Burnside Building.
“This is not about me,” said Dr. Agatiello, a native Bristolian and a physician for 35 years. “This is about people looking for answers and advice on a variety of medical subjects and issues at no charge to them.”
The free clinic will officially open on Tuesday, July 25, from 2 to 5 p.m., and will be held thereafter on the last Tuesday of each month. Patients are to enter the side entrance to the Burnside Building via Court Street. Dr. Agatiello will be assisted by nurse Rosemary Plamondon.
The clinic is offered to Bristol adults only, and proof of residency is required, said Dr. Agatiello, medical director and practicing internist at Metacom Medical Center in Warren from 1990-2002.
“They must bring all of their medicines with them to the clinic and they must understand that the advice I give will only be advice, not order lab tests, and will not provide ongoing care for them,” he said. “In general, I will not be calling them or communicating with them once the patient leaves the clinic.”
Dr. Agatiello added that patients to be seen are by appointment only, via email or by phone. Patients may email the clinic at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 401-396-9321 and leaving a message. Someone will get back to each patient.
“I think this is wonderful,” said Nat Squatrito, longtime friend and high school classmate of Dr. Agatiello. “He is well respected in the community, and I’m sure this free clinic will be an overwhelming success.”
Dr. Agatiello said the new venture began after talking with Town Councilman Edward Stuart and Town Administrator Steven Contente.
“Dr. Agatiello has served our community for many years and continues to offer his advice in this new capacity,” Councilman Stuart said. “The timing of this service couldn't come at a better moment. Its benefits, along with other programs in our town, will have a positive impact for a healthy environment here in the Town of Bristol.”
As Dr. Agatiello and Mr. Stuart emphasized, there is a true need for a medical advice clinic like this in the community.
“There has never been a time in the history of medicine that patients have felt so marginalized and frustrated with the medical system,” he said. “Many patients complain that they have difficulty accessing the medical system, complain that their physicians do not spend enough time with them, and complain that they get sent from one doctor to another with a lack of communication amongst their medical team. Moreover, many elderly patients do not understand what medicines they are taking and why they are taking them. They do not understand their health insurance benefits.”
Dr. Agatiello said he doesn’t plan on ordering lab tests, writing prescriptions or following up patients, unless necessary.
“My objective would be to advise, guide, educate, empower patients to take control of their health related problems including, but not limited to, insurance questions, medication questions, diagnosis problems, referrals to specialists, etc,” Dr. Agatiello said. “I would be more of a consultant, not a primary care doctor. Patients would need to understand the limitations.”
After 35 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Agatiello said he still has a desire to help others. He has also done humanitarian work during missions to Haiti and Panama, and understands how important it is to tend to the needs of those that need assistance.
“I think I can help people,” he reiterated. “This is my chance to give back to the town of Bristol what the people of Bristol gave to me.”