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Music and Medicine

In something of a departure from NICHEs usual topics, today we’re building off this opinion piece from Sweetwater CEO and former Lutheran Hospital Board Member Chuck Surack: http://www.journalgazette.net/…/learning-to-play-and-playin… Many may recall that in 1975,...

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Tennessee Sells Community Health Systems Stock

From the Ledger-Gazette: “State of Tennessee Treasury Department decreased its stake in shares of Community Health Systems (CHS), Inc. (NYSE: CYH) by 50.6% during the 2nd quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission....

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Attacking Healthcare Costs: The Attack on Hospitals

The trend is clear: ambulatory care is in, and inpatient care is out. Medicare has long had a two-tier rate system for payment. Even when the same room and supplies are used, for example, a surgical facility fee might be $1,800 if the procedure takes place in a...

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Healthcare Industry Problems: You Decide

Today, we have an exercise for you. Below are two scenarios that play a role in healthcare delivery in Fort Wayne. Your questions--should you choose to take on the challenge of answering them--are included after the scenarios. Situation #1 Modern Healthcare recently...

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CHS Statement of Beliefs

Yesterday, we posted a letter from Lutheran Health Network CEO Michael Poore, which included promises about LHN providing "a better, more convenient experience for our patients, better outcomes and ultimately lower costs for our patients and local employers." NICHE is...

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Letter from CEO, Mr. Mike Poore to LHN staff

NICHE has yet to hear from Lutheran Health Network CEO Michael Poore directly, but his letter to LHN employees, included below, provides an overview of his first 90 days. Keep them in mind as you reflect on outcomes. Think about hiring and firing and how quickly...

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The fuzzy math around Community Health Systems’ hospital sales

A fairly strong condemnation of Lutheran Health Systems-owner Community Health Systems (CHS) yesterday from Axios, citing CHS's "history of deceptive communication practices." "Eight of the 30 hospitals in CHS' fire sale are in two states, Pennsylvania and Washington,...

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New CEO at Lutheran Hospital

A new Lutheran Hospital CEO, Paula Autry, will report to Mike Poore, Lutheran Health Network CEO. As the Journal Gazette reports, Ms. Autry comes to Fort Wayne most recently from Detroit where she was CEO of the Detroit Medical Center Sinai-Grace...

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Two News Briefs

Indiana Ranks Poorly for Health Indicators According to The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, a not-for-profit group made up of advocates from across Indiana who are committed to improving the health of our state, Indiana ranks between 35th and 49th highest in drug...

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Why Can’t Lutheran Hospital Recruit Local Physicians?

NICHE has been told that, for the second consecutive year, Lutheran Health Network has chosen to hire no residents from the Family Medicine Residency at the Fort Wayne Medical Education Program. Why? We don’t know for sure--but there are likely reasons, some of which...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 3

More answers to the questions that have been asked by our readers. See the past two days’ posts for more discussion. Is the St. Joseph Hospital Burn Center verified or not verified? NICHE has spoken with the Chicago headquarters of the American Burn Association...

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Hospital Information Technology: Expensive & Difficult

Too often, it seems, we’re told that “no good deed will go unpunished!” For hospital electronic health records (EHRs) and Information Technology (IT) this appears to be the rule. In a recent incarnation, Lutheran Health Network (LHN) has---without fault we...

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Building trust

Lutheran Health Network’s hired crisis consultant from Nashville, TN, came to Fort Wayne the same day that The Journal-Gazette ran this editorial: Building Trust. We have no doubt that financially-beleaguered Community Health Services (CHS) is in need of advice from a...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 2

Yesterday, NICHE responded to some of the comments and questions shared with via our Facebook page and website. Here’s the second of three posts with more answers. Why don’t LHN nurses unionize? Dr. John Crawford, a City Councilman, has appeared at the Workers’...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 1

NICHE welcomes questions to our Facebook page and our website (where they can be submitted anonymously). Because NICHE is volunteer run, we can’t immediately respond to all the comments we receive—but we did want to take the opportunity to address some of the...

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Vagueness tempering enthusiasm for hospital

From today's Journal Gazette: "The most important question is whether Franklin, Tennessee-based CHS, which is reportedly carrying a $15 billion debt, can truly finance the investment in Lutheran Network that it's promised." See full article...

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Debt Sickened a Hospital Giant. Now the Doctors Are Revolting

From Bloomberg this week: https://www.bloomberg.com/…/debt-sickened-a-hospital-giant-… "The standoff over Lutheran provides a window into how CHS, once the largest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., has allowed facilities to languish, possibly compromising care...

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Sources: New St. Joe Hospital could be preemptive strike

This WANE story recaps LHN's ham-handed announcement of its plans for a new hospital, the potential that CHS goes bankrupt within a year, and the rumor of a competitor coming into the market. It is likely not a good morning at LHN. See full article...

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Crisis Management at LHN

NICHE has learned that CHS is providing crisis management for Lutheran Health Network (LHN.) A top-flight Nashville firm will send a consultant to Fort Wayne to deal with what has been termed a crisis. What it Means: To be pedantic, "crisis" comes from the Greek,...

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CHS: Tone Deaf?

A brief breaking news item: NICHE has learned that Community Health Systems (CHS) intends to make an offer on downtown property for the stated purpose of building a hospital--”an investment in Fort Wayne.”. This would be property for which the City of Fort Wayne does...

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Dr. Steven Orlow Resigns from Lutheran Board

Dr. Steven Orlow, long-time cardiologist at Lutheran Hospital and recently Chief Medical Information Officer for Lutheran Health Network, has resigned from the LHN board. The very odd backstory leading to this unfortunate loss to the entire network is so long as to...

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Will Fort Wayne Be the Next Pottstown?

What Happened? Community Health Systems (CHS) owns and operates Pottstown Memorial Medical Center (PMMC), Pottstown, PA, as it readies it for sale to Reading Hospital System. CHS has outdone itself in that PMMC has unachieved a poor One-Star rating from CMS Medicare...

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Lutheran Hospital and Bayfront Hospital: Deja Vu?

The situation: A major, for-profit hospital chain offers cash to a local charitable foundation to buy a hospital property. The hospital chain wants full control, perhaps to sell the property at a better price. The Foundation sees the cash as an opportunity to expand...

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Mr. Smith Comes to Fort Wayne

Just before Labor Day, Community Health Services (CHS) CEO Wayne Smith crept into Fort Wayne, coming in on a corporate jet, going right to a meeting, and then back to the corporate jet for a flight out of town. He could have taken time to meet with Lutheran Health...

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Treat Lutheran more as partner, less as child

We can recall a time, not long ago, when Lutheran Health was respected and respectable because it was run by local professionals. The St. Joe Burn Center was properly verified, Dupont Hospital's four-star status was never in question, and physicians like Dr. Kachmann...

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Secret Hospital Inspections May Become Public At Last

Yesterday we discussed the upheaval that Joint Commission visits can cause—and why hospitals must tolerate them. As serious as these visits are, however, their findings aren’t always available to the public. As this article from ProPublica suggests, however, this may...

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“OMG! They’re Here!”

That was a Modern Healthcare headline eleven years ago, and little has changed when The Joint Commission (TJC) shows up at your hospital for a surprise inspection. That remains true because TJC inspections are relied upon by Medicare, Medicaid, and Insurers, among...

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Community Health Systems: Downgraded, Again

Once again, financial and operating weakness at CHS raises serious questions for healthcare in northeast Indiana. NICHE wants CHS to succeed in our region. To do so, CHS must invest for quality and growth – especially quality. As things are, Lutheran Health Network...

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Casualties of CHS

A few weeks ago, a commenter asked NICHE to list “the physicians that have been ‘rid’ from Lutheran” under the leadership of Community Health Systems. Developing such a list is challenging given that names continue to be added and some individuals have left quietly on...

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Dupont Hospital to Lose Its Four-Star Rating

NICHE has learned that Dupont Hospital will soon be only average, not a four-star hospital. Dupont will be reduced it to three stars on the Federal Medicare-Compare ratings service that collects data, inspects hospitals, and aggregates the data to rate and compare...

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No Plastic Surgery Coverage at Lutheran Hospital Emergency Room

NICHE has been informed by previous Lutheran Hospital (LH) employees that the contract designed to provide coverage for Emergency Room (ER) patients needing plastic surgery has expired. A new contract was anticipated by the Plastic Surgeons (PS) at about the time that...

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Ex-colleagues praise Lutheran network chief

Yesterday’s Journal Gazette included this profile of new Lutheran Health Network (LHN) CEO Mike Poore: http://www.journalgazette.net/…/ex-colleagues-praise-luther… The piece featured a number of quotes from friends and former colleagues who know Poore well,...

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Saint Joseph’s Burn Unit: Should Mike Poore Be Smiling?

This week’s announcements of Mike Poore as the new CEO of Lutheran Health Network were accompanied by a photo of his smiling broadly. Recent news at St. Joe, however, may give him little to smile about. The American Burn Association (ABA) has confirmed with NICHE that...

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Lutheran network chief has ‘traction’

From today's Journal Gazette. As the interview states, Poore's challenges will include coming up with specific ways to make good on promises made by his boss, CHS CEO Wayne Smith, during an early-August call with investors: “We continue to focus on quality...

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Mike Poore named LHN president

From Today’s Journal Gazette. Tim Hingtgen, CHS president and chief operating officer, says, "Under Mike Poore's leadership, LHN is accelerating its progress on key operational and strategic initiatives." NICHE will be interested to see how these initiatives will...

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Why Are Shares of CYH Up Today?

NICHE has no inside information. This appeared on the Internet: Activist investors seeks ouster of CEO at Community Health Systems, shares ahead 11% Aug. 21, 2017 12:34 PM ET|About: Community Health Syste... (CYH)|By: Douglas W. House, SA News Editor Institutional...

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Investor Group Accuses Community Health Systems—Why?

Headline: ASL Strategic Value Fund Sends Letter to Community Health Systems(CHS) Board of Directors accusing noncompliance with Federal Court approved settlement requirements. They suggest that it is time to change management. Some background: After settling claims of...

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Congratulations, Lutheran and Parkview

NICHE was created to educate and report on healthcare, and we’re as interested in pointing out what’s being done right as we are in shedding light on difficult topics. Today, it’s our pleasure to commend both Lutheran and Parkview for their significant investments in...

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Breaking CHS and LHN News

We are pleased to report happy news and congratulate a few LHN executives for receiving promotions. We understand that decisions were made to fill vacant and currently temporary posts at Lutheran Health Network and were reported over a joyful dinner party with...

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Will Wayne Smith Agree?

Meet Tianqiao Chen, the owner of 21% of Community Health Systems (and, therefore, Lutheran Health Network). This profile in yesterday's Straits Times highlights his interest in health and neuroscience demonstrated by his and wife’s $115 million gift to California...

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The borrower is servant to the lender

Let’s imagine your annual earnings are $200,000. Sounds pretty good, right? We’ll not so fast. Let’s also assume that your debts—mortgage, car loans, student loans, etc.—equal $1.6 million. Interest on those loans costs you $120,000 per year. You have some assets...

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Acknowledging the dedication of LHN’s professionals

In case you missed it this weekend: this letter to the Journal Gazette editor from http://www.journalgazette.net/…/20170…/letters-to-the-editor Dick and Adie Baach acknowledges the dedication of LHN's professionals while calling for more support for them from...

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Shanda increases stake in CHS

Yesterday, NICHE reported considerable activity on the CHS stock (ticker symbol CYH). We now know who the buyer is: Shanda, which went from owning 13.64 percent of the company with more than 15 million shares to 22.1% and more than 25 million shares. Clearly, Shanda's...

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The collapse of Community Health Systems

If the headline isn't clear enough about CHS's prospects, how about this quote?: "CHS sits in a massive hole after a string of missteps, according to industry insiders. And it's not likely to get better for CHS, or the local communities that rely on a CHS facility..."...

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Who Owns CHS Now?

Community Health Services (CHS) is a publicly traded stock. Friday was a wild day for CYH (the stock exchange symbol for CHS) when 29.13 million shares were traded—nearly ten times the usual number and 26 percent of the shares overall. One trade of nearly a million...

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Dupont: A closer look at the numbers

On Friday, NICHE posted about planned job cuts at Dupont Hospital. In response, Dupont Interim CEO Lisa Dolan sent an internal memo that claimed “This information is absolutely untrue. The claims made and opinions expressed in the post were made by people who do not...

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Come to Fort Wayne, Wayne

Wayne Smith is the CEO of Community Health Systems (CHS)—the company that owns Lutheran Health Network (LHN). Those who keep track of such things say that he has visited Fort Wayne and Lutheran Hospital but once in ten years despite LHN being one of CHS’s leading...

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CHS to cut 75 jobs at Dupont Hospital

NICHE has it on good authority that job cuts are imminent at Dupont Hospital. Specifically, we are hearing that 40 positions are on the chopping block and 75 long term--a significant number given that total employment at Dupont is approximately just over 600. (Math...

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Quiet as a…

Mr. Poore: Too many people know. People who care about Lutheran Hospital, people who work short staffed, people who clean and care for the equipment, the people who drove the truck. People who talk to each other and who have talked to us. Perhaps media training is...

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Two months–and several questions

This week, NICHE celebrates two months of existence. It's been a whirlwind summer, with a tremendous amount of volunteer time and effort driving the process. But the most important element is you, the people who read our posts and visit our Facebook page. YOU are...

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Good on ya, Marty Bonick

Good on ya, Marty Bonick We, at NICHE, don’t know why Marty Bonick has resigned his position as Community Health Systems (CHS) President of Operations for the division that includes Lutheran Health Network (LHN). That may become clear over time, but we’d like to think...

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Marty Bonick resigning

More than rumor but less than certain is that Marty Bonick is leaving Community Health Systems (CHS), where he is Division President for the region that includes Lutheran Health Networks (LHN). Bonick came to CHS after serving as President of long-troubled Jewish...

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Lutheran, community feel effects of CHS’ poor practices

"CHS' actions will have a significant effect not only on LHN's financial future and the quality of care in our region, but also on economic development because health care is important to retaining and attracting new business investment." See full article...

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Is EBITDA a Fairy Tale? – Part 2

Is EBITDA a Fairy Tale? – Part 2 Yesterday, we posed a question about EBITDA, a means of examining earnings, and its relationship to CHS. We left off with a few important questions: Is there a tooth fairy—and is CHS’s financial position sustainable? So, let’s return...

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Is EBITDA a Fairy Tale? – Part 1

Is EBITDA a Fairy Tale? – Part 1 You may wonder why a retired ENT doctor would tackle a dry financial topic like EBITDA, a financial acronym used for examining earnings— Earnings BEFORE deducting costs for paying Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization. More...

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Lutheran Health parent still open to buyers as losses continue

In case you missed it, last week in the News-Sentinel: "The parent company of Lutheran Health Network — which in May rejected a buyout bid from a group led by local physicians — said this week it remains willing to sell some of its assets even as financial losses...

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Shielding a community asset

"Even as Fort Wayne moved forward on so many fronts, could one of the region's most identifiable businesses – one that provides vital services and employs thousands – be endangered?" See full article...

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CHS is listening

We are pleased that CHS is listening to the Journal Gazette, NICHE, and its patients, physicians, and nurses. One small indication of this: they have removed from their website the list of “118 Top Performing Hospitals” that cited by the Joint Commission on Hospital...

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Why Dupont Hospital’s Top 100 Ranking Matters – Part 2

Why Dupont Hospital’s Top 100 Ranking Matters - Part 2 Yesterday we congratulated Dupont Hospital, Lutheran Health Network (LHN), and Community Health Services (CHS)--owner of LHN--on being named one of just five Indiana hospitals in the nation’s Top 100, according to...

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Why Dupont Hospital’s Top 100 Ranking Matters – Part 1

Why Dupont Hospital’s Top 100 Ranking Matters - Part 1 We return to the challenging task of speaking kindly of Lutheran Health Network. As previously noted, we do so because LHN’s CEO, Mike Poore, seems not to return phone calls and has not returned our offer to print...

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How you can help

We've gotten many messages from employees and community members asking how they can help NICHE and help raise awareness about challenges at LHN. Here are a few steps you can take--and we'd love to hear suggestions from others who are making their voices heard: 1. Like...

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Top Performers in Key Quality Measures

The CHS website claims that more than 100 of its hospitals are “Top Performers in Key Quality Measures®,” as measured by the “Joint Commission, a leading accrediting agency for healthcare organizations” (http://www.chs.net/…/top-performers-in-key-quality-measures/)....

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Fool me twice, shame on me.

Fool me twice, shame on me. Mr. Mike Poore, CHS, Community Health System’s replacement CEO for Lutheran Hospital has been quoted as saying “it will take time to build trust.” Lutheran doctors confirm that this was said, and certainly time is a factor. And so, what...

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No regrets about selling nonprofit Lutheran to for-profit owners

Longtime Fort Wayne residents remember when Lutheran Hospital, like Parkview Health, was a nonprofit. Authority for major hiring, firing, spending and strategy decisions rested completely in Lutheran board members' hands. No outside approval was necessary. Some...

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Lutheran flap shows issue with boards

In today's Journal Gazette, Sherry Slater shares this helpful article about hospital governance: http://www.journalgazette.net/news/local/20170723/lutheran-flap-shows-issue-with-boards It is both revealing in that Parkview reflects local values and that Community...

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Lutheran loses 2 docs from board of Dupont

Two of nine physician members of Dupont Hospital's board of directors have submitted their resignations in the past few days, becoming the latest local leaders to step away from a board associated with Lutheran Health Network. Dr. Arvind Surendran, an...

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Patient concerned about quality of care at Lutheran

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Lutheran Health Network patient is voicing concerns about firings and resignations at the hospital system. There has been a major shakeup at Lutheran over the last two months. It began when a group of doctors made a failed bid to buy the...

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Former chairman resigns from Dupont Hospital board

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A founding member of Dupont Hospital and the former chairman of the board of directors has resigned from the board. Dr. Todd Rumsey was a founding member of the board and served as chairman for 13 years. The owner of Dupont and Lutheran Health...

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3 doctors quit leadership posts amid tension with CHS

3 doctors quit leadership posts amid tension with CHS. And then there were two. Only two independent voices remain on the advisory boards of Lutheran Health Network and Lutheran Hospital after Tom Kelley submitted his resignation Friday, one day after Chuck Surack...

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Surack, Kelley resign from Lutheran Board

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  NewsChannel 15 has learned two prominent Fort Wayne businessmen have resigned from the boards of directors for Lutheran Hospital and Lutheran Health Network. Tom Kelley and Chuck Surack have both parted ways. In a letter to Community Health...

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Open Letter By: Dr. Steven W. Orlow

Open Letter By: Dr. Steven W. Orlow Mr. Poore; With deep sadness, I write to you in your role as market CEO, to give written 90-day notice of the termination of my employment agreement with Lutheran Medical Group and termination of my position as Chief Medical...

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Open Letter By: Dr. Andy O’Shaughnessy

By: Dr. Andy O'Shaughnessy An open letter to my physician colleagues within Lutheran Health Network: Respectfully, this letter will not be for everyone. Physicians are a diverse group in both thought and action. However, in talking with many of you on a one-to-one...

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Why bother to listen to the Lutheran Health Network Physicians?

By: Patti Hayes Why bother to listen to the Lutheran Health Network Physicians? It isn’t as if they were the ones who built the reputation of a healthcare system. A healthcare system that is filled with regional firsts. It isn’t as if they did the region’s first...

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Want to support NICHE?

Want to support NICHE and higher-quality healthcare in our region? Help us cover our administrative costs by giving through Fundly.

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We hear you! Send us your personal experience.

We received this message from “loyal Lutheran Hospital employees” who also have a long history of having been patients at LHN facilities and having family members treated at LHN facilities as well: “Throughout the years Lutheran Health Network nurses and Drs. have...

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Lutheran staff longs for freedom

Lutheran Health Network is attempting to break away from its current owner: Community Health Systems. I am not saying that everyone who works for CHS outside of LHN is some sort of villain; there are those who seek to reform policies and practices. In early 2007,...

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CHS’ next steps vital in rebuilding Lutheran’s shaken trust

For those who want to see conditions and morale at Lutheran Health Network's hospitals improve, the firing of the group's CEO, Brian Bauer, couldn't have come at a worse moment. Lutheran's parent company, Community Health Systems, had indicated it wanted to rebuild...

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Opportunity out of upheaval

The opening of Dupont Hospital in 2001 represented everything possible when health care professionals, business and a community come together. As a collaborative effort of physicians, Lutheran Health Network and then-LHN-parent Quorum, the goal was that the...

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