TLASO. That’s one acronym you won’t see listed among a physician’s professional degrees, but at Tarpon, P.A.in Plano, “To Love and Serve Others” is a required credential for every M.D. and staff member working at the practice.
“It’s a high privilege to be a physician. It’s an honored place to be invited into someone’s life to help them heal, and that comes with a great deal of responsibility,” said Dr. Lewis Frazier, Jr., who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation. The Stanford graduate instructs physicians from around the world on precision spinal diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. He is board certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Electro-Diagnostic Medicine.
Dr. Frazier started Tarpon, P.A. in 2007, with a mandate to deliver musculoskeletal medicine “the way it’s supposed to be.” He left a large group of allied health professionals to build a practice where “patients can receive the care they need in one convenient location, with a cohesive medical team guiding patients through the process of obtaining a clear diagnosis and definitive treatment plan.”
For Frazier, “the old paradigm became too big and impersonal – too difficult to do what I felt called to do.” Patients were referred to one place for a surgical opinion, another place for pain management, and yet another place for therapy or MRI.
“No one really knew you or your case. It was everything that I didn’t go into medicine to provide,” Frazier said. “I tried giving my cell number to every patient, and every staff cell number, too; but I still had patients who’d been trying to get in for weeks, and they ended up having to go the emergency room. They’d been turned away by my staff and I’d never heard about it. I just couldn’t get it to work in a big model.”
TLASO not only became Frazier’s philosophy in treating patients at his own practice, but he made it Tarpon’s mission.
“If each of us shares that same commitment, then it’s our patients’ best chance to call in, get an appointment when they need to, have their insurance squared away, get seen quickly, and have it all make sense. They leave with their own disk, film and X-ray reports, and they know the plan,” Frazier said.
Tarpon’s team of physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists includes Dr. Robert “Jamie” Spicer, Dr. Eric Ray, and Dr. Jeff Smith. Most recently, Dr. John McGarryopened Tarpon’s sports injury clinic.
Tarpon employs 35 full-time employees, serving 12,846 patients – delivering expert diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of all neuro-musculoskeletal disorders, including general orthopedics, sports injuries and pain associated with the spine and extremities.
“With all of our physicians motivated to fulfill the mission, then as we grow, each of us will begin to notice if we’re not delivering,” Frazier said. “That’s why I’ve been slow to bring on partners. I have to be sure they feel personally called to lay themselves down for the benefit of others.”
He added, “In the past, I’ve been in boardrooms with people who have a different ideology about why we’re doctors and business leaders. If you’re arguing ideology, it’ll never end, because we see the world differently. If you think it’s all about you and your paycheck, and I suggest giving employees a Christmas bonus, then you’re going to say ‘why should we do that?’”
“At Tarpon, we don’t have to take the things that tug on our heart on Sunday and bury them until the next time we’re with our Christian fellowship. We openly speak about these values in our management meetings and in everything we do.” – Dr. Lewis Frazier, Jr.
Growing up, Frazier says he thought his father was the most important guy in the world. “He had a desk with his name on it, and that was amazing. I took pride in going to his office, seeing that he hosted a Christmas party, that he got to bring a gift basket home – anything that said my dad’s work was significant,” Frazier said. “Then I got into practice, and I saw that every Christmas we’d receive 50 different gift baskets from all these different people. I’d see doctors load 8 or 10 of them each into their car to take home. The doctors were making tons of money, but the employees received no Christmas party, no bonus, no gift basket. It’s like they were forgotten. They didn’t receive affirmation for a whole year of faithful work.”
Julie Burns has known Dr. Frazier for the past ten years, and began working at Tarpon in 2008 as the practice administrator.
“I really like what we’re doing here. It’s not often that you can really live by the values and the ethics that you have in business,” Burns said. “Dr. Frazier goes above and beyond with benefits for the employees. He understands that employees have families. It’s a different world at Tarpon.”
Included among D Magazine’s Best Doctors 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, Tarpon is recognized as a True Blue DFW Business, based on its commitment to patients, employees and the community as a whole.
“The highest calling we have is to honor God and show others who God is. We try not to separate that out from what we do at Tarpon every day,” Frazier said. “We donate time to do physicals at area high schools. We give back to the local community. We do mission trips to the Amazon and the Dominican Republic. It’s one more manifestation of trying to love and serve others.”
To inquire about the True Blue Business Recognition Series, email information@TrueBlueBusiness.com.
Written by Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News, for publication in the True Blue Business special supplment to the Wall Street Journal, Q1 Edition, March 7, 2012; all rights reserved.