Q&A with LUGPA Immediate-Past President [PART TWO]
Preserving the Patient Impact of Independent Urology

This is the second installment of a two-part blog post, in which we caught up with outgoing LUGPA President Jonathan Henderson, MD, for a question-and-answer session. For part one, click here.

      Jonathan Henderson, MD

What are the greatest opportunities for urology groups as we enter 2023?

Our biggest opportunity is to reach residents and medical students to share the benefits of independent practice and what makes us so passionate about it. Future generations of physicians are key to the survival of our model. That’s why our initiatives to educate people about our mission and values in the real world are so important. Another opportunity is to work with private equity firms and collaborate with other organizations. We are all aligned on independent practices being the best thing for the practice of medicine in the country, and we want to sustain it the best we can, so we should work together and build each other up to achieve that goal.

Independent practices also have a real opportunity to expand our impact in underserved populations. During Prostate Cancer Awareness Month this September, my practice held five free prostate cancer screenings in our community. We also started a prostate cancer foundation at the practice to reach underserved populations in Arkansas, particularly Black men. My practice isn’t alone in this effort; I’ve seen independent practices throughout the country making similar efforts. It is a testament to how being independent is more than a business model; it embraces altruism.

Independent physicians constantly must ask themselves why they are independent and why they got into medicine in the first place. For most of us, it is a calling to take care of people, and if that’s truly why you got into medicine, then you want to take care of as many people as you can. To accomplish this goal requires not just bringing people into the office and keeping the lights on, but also getting out beyond our walls and reaching every person in this country that we can.

What words of advice or encouragement would you give to the next LUGPA President, Dr. Evan Goldfischer?

First and foremost, congratulations. Enjoy every day as president because it goes by quickly. The one thing that I would encourage is to lead by serving. The board is the best suited to direct LUGPA and provide guidance to the president. Using the board’s knowledge reaffirms LUGPA’s meaningfulness to our groups because they truly have a voice in what we do, and we are responsive to their needs. If our groups see our leadership engaging on their behalf, they will trust us to hold independent urology in a strong position. LUGPA is resilient, and at the end of the day, we will get through any crisis together.

What has been your main motivation to be in independent practice?

Independent practice allows me to fulfill my calling most effectively. From talking to my colleagues and members of LUGPA, I believe this is a shared motivation by many. Being independent allows me to better care for my patients with as few obstacles as possible, and that is why we do what we do as physicians. I believe being independent is the most American way to practice medicine, as it embraces the spirit of freedom. We are on the frontlines fighting for policies that prop up other health care providers. Urologists in other modes of practice are just not as involved, interested, or effective; but we are the ones who make a difference for all urology.

On a personal note, my belief in the importance of independent practice is the reason that I moved this past year. The previous group I was a part of was sold to a hospital and left independent urology, and I decided to leave to remain independent. I fervently believe that what we are doing as independent physicians is the right thing to do. It is right for me, for my patients, for the healthcare system of this country and for the basic principles upon which this country was founded.  It allows me to serve my purpose and brings me joy in my work. As grandiose as that may sound, that is why I’m here, and that is why independent groups are here – because we believe in what we do.