Dr. Caleb Stepan, MD
Urological Associates of Western Colorado
Grand Mesa Urology
Sometimes the best medicine is a doctor who will take the time to listen.
In contrast to our loud, fast-paced culture, Dr. Caleb Stepan believes that slowing down and taking the time to listen to patients is the key to good medicine. “90% of the time, you can figure out what’s going on with patients just by listening,” he says. “I let them tell their story, and then I listen.”
Dr. Stepan is a part of the urological team at Urological Associates in Grand Junction where he has practiced for the last eleven years. He cares for a variety of conditions all related to the urinary tract including blockage or prostate issues, voiding dysfunction, incontinence, kidney stones, and cancers in both men and women.
But what interested Dr. Stepan about urology? While most surgeons spend most of their time in surgery and internal medicine physicians spend all their time in clinic, he gets to enjoy the best of both worlds. Urological work is more varied, he says—a unique blend of classic medicine and surgery. About two thirds of the time, he gets to be with patients in the clinic setting—listening to and connecting with them and helping them get relief for the problems they’re having. The final third of his time he spends in the operating room which further appeals to his problem-solving nature. “It’s how my brain works,” he says. “I enjoy the challenge. It’s satisfying for me to be able to use my problem-solving drive to help others.”
Coupled with his commitment to listening to his patients, Dr. Stepan is just as dedicated to being honest with them. In his opinion, one of the biggest problems with medicine today is the pressure physicians put on themselves to treat and cure everything. While he does his utmost to help his patients, Dr. Stepan also recognizes that physicians can’t work miracles. “My ethos is understanding the limits of medicine as well as when I can help and communicating those limits to my patients,” he says. “I honor and respect my patients by being honest and realistic about their conditions and treatments.”
He describes Urological Associates as “a league above” when it comes to quality of care. Over the years, the practice has fostered progressive approaches to urology by staying at the forefront of techniques, technology, and best practices. Urological Associates also understands that maintaining a health work-life balance is essential in being able to provide their patients with the best care in the long-run. “Ultimately, happy doctors are better doctors,” says Dr. Stepan who regularly adventures throughout Colorado with his wife and three daughters.
Recently, Dr. Stepan and his team identified that many people in rural parts of Colorado aren’t able to get the care they need due to lack of access, and as a result, are either postponing medical help or foregoing it altogether. “It can be difficult for older patients, both physically and mentally, to travel for services. That’s a real problem for rural America, particularly with subspecialties like urology,” says Dr. Stepan. In response, he and his colleagues have recently launched a sister clinic in Delta, Grand Mesa Urology, where he spends most of his time. “Because we understand the hardship of traveling, we knew we had to expand our services to more rural areas,” he says. Our vision is to continue expanding so it’s easier for our patients to get the care they need.”
“Because we understand the hardship of traveling, we knew we had to expand our services to more rural areas,” he says. Our vision is to continue expanding so it’s easier for our patients to get the care they need.”
The COVID shutdown in early 2020 affected many healthcare businesses, and Dr. Stepan’s practice was no exception. Forced to pivot the clinic, the team started pushing into telemedicine as much as they could in order to serve their patients. Once the shutdown was lifted, they could finally start to see patients in-person again. “COVID has been a challenge, but I think we’re doing a good job,” says Dr. Stepan. “Our patients can feel safe in knowing that our practice is taking every precaution to protect them against COVID. Our patients’ safety and health is always our first priority.”