Construction crews hustle to knock out a punch-list that’s the only thing keeping Urology Partners of North Texas from welcoming patients into its new, state-of-the-art facility in Fort Worth.
Nestled along Chisholm Trail Parkway at Oakmont Blvd., the innovative center will house the Fort Worth branch of Urology Partners of North Texas (UPNT), along with its sister companies—Surgical Centers of North Texas and Texas Cancer Specialists. Each will boast their own dedicated wing. Everything in the 37,0000-square-foot space has been meticulously designed to reflect UPNT’s core tenant: physician-led, patient-first care.
Soon, patients will receive expert treatment for everything from leaky bladder and prostate cancer, to kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, pelvic prolapse and other urologic ailments. It’s the culmination of an ambitious dream that’s been on a fast-moving train.
Just over three years ago, 19 doctors (including longtime Fort Worth residents and urologists) decided to disentangle themselves from corporate medicine. While the prospect of breaking away was daunting, they knew what they were in for. After all, they’d done it before.
The Seeds of Patient-First
All through the early and mid-2000s, a tight-knit team of North Texas physicians set about building an enviable model of care. At its core was a rare health-care organization—rare because the physicians owned it. They served in its top leadership positions, sat on its board, established all of its policies, and made all the management decisions. They did it all according to one guiding precept: always do what’s best for the patient.
Their singular focus fueled a nimble, can-do culture that delivered on their promise of patient-centered care.
“We were always thinking, ‘How can we ensure the highest patient satisfaction? How can we maintain the highest levels of safety?’ Our organization was the metroplex leader in those areas for many years,” says Mitch Abrahams, MD, UPNT partner and medical director. “We were the leader because we had doctors making those decisions.”
Under their physician-led model, they pioneered one of the nation’s leading robotic surgery programs. They created centers of excellence to treat prostate cancer, pelvic prolapse, incontinence, men’s health issues and more.
“We decided to build on that success and once again create a practice where we could put all our skills, ideas and intense patient focus to work,” UPNT managing partner Patrick Collini, MD, states simply.
Building a Better Healthcare Experience
As Goethe once encouraged, “Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid.” When UPNT opened its new practice in April 2019, it fielded a flood of non-stop calls the very first day—a testament to the high regard patients have for this group of docs. Today, the practice counts 38 physicians and six physician assistants among its ranks. For its Fort Worth docs, creating a patient-centric care facility in their hometown is deeply personal.
“We live in this community. We raise our families here, and we’re honored to care for the people in this community,” affirms UPNT Partner Jeffrey Applewhite, MD. He’s lived and treated patients here for two decades. “Urology lends itself to long-term patient relationships, which is very gratifying. I think relationships are at the very core of Fort Worth, and they’re certainly the core of Urology Partners.”
Fort Worth Bona Fide
When UPNT partner Wendy Leng, MD, FPMRS, moved her family to the growing city in 2012, she was surprised to find that she was the first and only woman urologist in Fort Worth. She still remains one of the few subspecialists certified in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery. “Patients tell me, ‘I searched high and low for a woman urologist.’ At UPNT, we’re all here to serve women and their urologic needs,” she reveals. “After all, women have urinary tracts too.” Together with new UPNT partner Lira Chowdhury, DO, the two spearhead the UPNT Fort Worth Incontinence Center of Excellence.
As one of the most experienced minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgeons in Fort Worth, UPNT partner Scott Thurman, MD, is a second-generation Fort Worth urologist. So is UPNT partner Adam Hollander, MD, who learned early about the importance of exemplary patient care when he first accompanied his father on hospital rounds at the age of four. With a double fellowship in robotic surgery and complex kidney stone disease, he’s honored to help patients live longer, more meaningful lives.
“It’s incredible to have a patient say, ‘You saved my life,’—especially when your practice is focused on prostate and kidney cancers,” Thurman explains.
UPNT partner Trey Moore, MD, admits he’s been practicing so long that he now treats several generations of the same family. He’s well known for his deep roots in Fort Worth. In fact, Moore has just been named a trustee of his alma mater, Texas Christian University, a role he says is the fulfilment of a “lifelong dream.” Before accepting the appointment, he was as an assistant professor at the university’s medical school. He also serves as vice chief of surgery at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest and is on the board of Project Access Tarrant County (PATC), an organization that provides much-needed healthcare to the county’s uninsured and working poor.
Throughout the year, a network of compassionate volunteer physicians (including Dr. Applewhite and other UPNT physicians), step up so individuals can receive surgical and specialty care they have no means of receiving otherwise. “It is very rewarding,” says Moore.
Infusing Personalized Care with a Personal Touch
By 2020, another beloved Fort Worth physician, Jerry Barker, MD, had taken note of UPNT’s autonomous, patient-first commitment to excellence. As the only Fellowship trained radiation oncologist in Tarrant County*, Barker is a lifeline for patients battling advanced and complex cancers. Along the way, he’s treated many UPNT prostate cancer patients. The two teamed up to form Texas Cancer Specialists.
“Our team is devoted to a compassionate, truly personalized approach that delivers precise, state-of-the-art radiation treatment for the most challenging cancers,” Barker notes. “But just as important, we’re a place of optimism, hope and comfort.”
Connecting with people so intimately has nurtured rare insights into 360-degree patient care.
“If you listen to the patient long enough, really listen, they’ll tell you how you can help them,” Chowdhury reveals. “Letting the patient talk, making sure they’re heard guides good patient care.”
“There are studies that show the average physician interrupts a patient 30 seconds into their visit,” adds UPNT partner Jason Poteet, MD. “I want to hear my patients tell their story in their own words before I begin asking questions.”
“It’s also understanding the patient’s family, background and culture—all the things that can influence a patient’s view of their disease,” Applewhite adds.
“All those conversations go a long way toward building trust and a bond that can last many years,” Poteet notes.
You only have to spend a few minutes perusing the comments on the UPNT Facebook page to understand why their approach has fostered such deep patient loyalty.
“What a relief to finally meet a doctor who’s optimistic and doesn’t treat you like you’re a number,” says a man struggling with BPH. “Dr. Moore cares for you like he’s a friend. If it wasn’t for him, I’d probably be sitting in a chair feeling sorry for myself. I love that man.”
“I’m cancer-free. Thank you, God, Dr. Barker and Texas Cancer Specialists,” writes a prostate cancer patient.
“Another doctor told me my bladder was dead,” recounts one man. “I thought I’d have to wear a catheter for the rest of my life until Dr. Leng did urodynamics testing and told me, ‘Your bladder is still trying to work. I’m very optimistic for you.’”
“Dr. Thurman is an angel on this Earth. I do not have enough words to express my gratitude,” writes a woman diagnosed with a kidney tumor.
A New Level of Comprehensive Care
The Oakmont facility is designed to reinforce all that good will. “It’s the culmination of what we’ve been building for the last few years,” Applewhite notes. “We’ve very methodically and very strategically focused on what patients truly need.”
When it opens, patients will discover an easy access, one-level facility with ground parking that allows them to walk right in the front door without the hassle of a parking garage or navigating a big campus. Inside, they’ll be treated to an unprecedented continuity of care.
“There’s no question where anyone needs to go,” Moore adds. “One doorway leads to comprehensive care. Anything a patient needs urologically will be here. This facility reflects the cutting edge of urologic science. Not to mention the amazing camaraderie among all the physicians and staff members. With an expert roster of subspecialists under one roof, we can handle a broad range of urologic problems. We can do labs. We can do many surgeries right here. A future onsite pharmacy will provide even more convenience.”
Along with a commitment to high-quality urologic care, there is heightened accountability, too. “I like to tell patients, if you have a problem with some aspect of your urologic care or supplies, please let us know and we’ll take care of it,” Leng says. “Because it’s us—we’re running the practice.”
“We have so many ideas about ways we want to deliver more comprehensive, more affordable patient-focused care,” Dr. Collini adds. “This is just the beginning.”
With such a cohesive focus, UPNT partners are fueling a mantra that is emblazoned on the practice’s website at upnt.com—We are creating a different kind of healthcare experience.
Learn more about UPNT at upnt.com or c Call 866-367-8768.