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Dr. Bailey celebrates 30 years at Tanglewood Family Medicine

Commitment to rural health is unrivaled.

A doctor stands in front of a clinic with a banner that says, "Cheers to 30 Years!"

Paul Bailey, M.D., has reached an incredible milestone as a physician in a rural area. He celebrated his 30th anniversary last month at VCU Health at Tanglewood in Bracey, Virginia, the same practice he started in 1993. The staff hosted a catered lunch, complete with a banner, balloons and gifts. 

What makes a person stay in the same place most of their career? Bailey said he has ties to Bracey because his wife was raised here. “Where else can you live on the water with a two-minute commute to work?” he said. 

An active outdoorsman, Bailey spends some of his spare time deer and turkey hunting. He is also very involved in his local church, where he is an ordained deacon and plays acoustic guitar in the praise and worship band.

Bailey shared a memorable moment in his career when a patient arrived in his waiting room in full cardiac arrest. He drove himself to the facility, having no idea how sick he was. Bailey performed CPR while the staff called 911. If this practice had not been in this rural community, the patient would have likely died.

“This is the only bastion of health care in the lake area,” Bailey said. “Others have come and gone.”

Growing up on the west coast, Bailey attended the University of Washington as a computer science major. A friend’s father took him aside and asked him what he really wanted to do with his life. 
“He encouraged me to have higher aspirations,” Bailey said. “I was good at science and enjoyed it, so I changed my major to pre-medicine.”

Bailey carried that experience with him and is a constant source of encouragement for his team.

“Dr. Bailey loves to teach, he is supportive of growth in the department and encourages each team member to reach their full potential,” Beth Phillips, FNP-C, said.

Bailey grew up under difficult circumstances and wanted a better life for his future children. So when his medical school director told him about an opportunity on the east coast, he drove his 1966 Mustang across the country for a residency in Portsmouth, Virginia. 

“God put things in my life to teach me lessons and I’m thankful I had those experiences,” he said. “I am better able to understand the human condition and while I couldn’t help my family growing up, I am able to help make others’ lives better.”

A leader in more ways than one, Bailey’s team members say Bailey’s dedication to the people he serves is unrivaled.

“Dr. Bailey goes the extra mile, he is always helping and he even takes phone calls on weekends,” Melanie Dolchan, LPN, said.

“He runs marathons and is a role model to his patients. He works 10-hour shifts and will do home visits for patients who need it,” Paula Vigilante, FNP-C, said.

Bailey owned Tanglewood Family Medicine until it became affiliated with VCU Health in 2016. During that time, he developed the practice into multiple providers, expanded several times to include a lab and more exam rooms. 

“Being a solo practitioner is labor-intensive,” Bailey said. “You are financially responsible for equipment, maintenance and upkeep. VCU Health is a big reason why I’m still here.”

VCU Health team members appreciate the partnership and recognize the rarity of a physician staying in rural location for three decades. 

"Dr. Bailey's deep commitment to caring for his patients and his community was part of his practice before he joined VCU Health and has been sustained through his time as part of our health system,” Mark Ryan, M.D., vice-chair for clinical operations and quality, said. “As he teaches VCU School of Medicine students in the office, we hope that he will be able to share his sense of mission and dedication as he helps train the next generation of physicians." 

A group of health care workers pose in a break room with balloons and food.

Christina Potter, Amy Helms, Dr. Paul Bailey, Shirley Craft, Christina Wall, Sandra Kidd, Amin Tafti, Susan McIntyre, Elaine Clary and Pamela Cassada.