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Truman Clinic Aims To Fill Health Care Hole In Downtown Kansas City

Andy Marso
Heartland Health Monitor

Downtown Kansas City, Mo., has a new outpatient surgical center and the University of Kansas School of Medicine has some local competition as it trains the next generation of KC doctors.

Leaders of Truman Medical Centers and the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine last week celebrated the opening of University Health, an outpatient clinic on Hospital Hill.

Nelson Sabates, chairman of UMKC’s department of ophthalmology and the new facility’s lead physician, touted the group of doctors, nurses and medical residents at University Health before helping Truman Medical Centers President Charlie Shields cut the ceremonial ribbon.

Credit Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor
Heartland Health Monitor
Nelson Sabates, chairman of the University of Missouri-Kansas City's department of ophtalmology, will be lead physician at University Health.

“We are a very strong academic medical center,” Sabates said. “There’s not just one academic medical center in Kansas City. There’s two, and there has been for many, many years.”

Sabates’ last line was almost drowned out by applause after his veiled reference to the academic medical center on the other side of the state line.

He said the new facility was a passion project for him that was 10 years in the making.

“It had to happen,” Sabates said. “This is the future of health care. This is the future of where we need to be (in order) to be leaders in health care.”

University Health will be home to 50 doctors with an outpatient surgical clinic that Shields said will provide “head-to-toe” procedures: everything from eye surgeries to bunion removal.

It also will offer specialty services like 3-D medical imaging and pain management.

Shields said it’s further evidence of the area’s revitalization.

“This is specialty care right where people live and work, all in absolutely state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.

Shields said the University Health name reflects a commitment by Truman Medical Centers to building community awareness of its partnership with UMKC. Being a teaching hospital for UMKC physicians has advantages, he said.

“They know the latest research, but more importantly they create the latest research, and that is a huge benefit to the patients they see,” he said.

A Sabates Eye Centers office stretches across much of the second floor of the facility.

Sabates said Truman Medical Centers is in his family’s DNA, and this is the beginning of big things for Truman and the UMKC medical school.

“We are going to produce — we are producing — the best doctors that will serve our communities for decades to come,” he said. “That is our legacy here.”

Editor’s note: KCUR is licensed by UMKC.

Andy Marso is a reporter for KHI News Service in Topeka, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team.

Andy Marso is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 and the Kansas News Service based in Topeka.
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