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Uber, Lyft, or call an ambulance?

On December 17, CBS News reported that “more people appear to be choosing to use an Uber for rides to the hospital” versus calling an ambulance. David Slusky, assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas and co-author Leon Moskatel studied ambulance...

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CHS offer turned down

Stories from the Tampa Bay Business Journal (https://www.bizjournals.com/…/how-community-health-systems-…) and the Tampa Bay Times (http://www.tampabay.com/…/City-Council-sinks-deal-to-alter-…) confirm that distrust of Community Health Systems (CHS) by the St....

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How Will Hospitals Fare Under the New Tax Plan?

On December 20, Becker’s Hospital CFO Report noted that profitable healthcare companies like HCA will benefit from a lowering of the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35% (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/…/why-hca-will-fare-b…). Companies with large debt loads,...

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Lutheran Loses GI Doctors: Is There More to the Story?

From Becker’s Hospital Review last week (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/…/appellate-court-rev…): “On Wednesday, the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals revived a shareholder class-action lawsuit against Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, alleging...

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More pressure on hospitals: for-profit and not-for-profit

This was the lede to this morning’s Journal Gazette article. “A group of Fort Wayne doctors affiliated with Lutheran Health Network (LHN) have ended their employment with the network over a contract dispute, according to a statement issued Friday by a network...

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Community Health Systems elects two new directors

The new tax bill, as it exists in Congressional Conference Committee, may remove the ability of nonprofit (NFP) hospitals to issue tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals are particularly concerned about measures to limit tax-exempt financing for not-for-profit organizations,...

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Chinese investor Chen buys more stock in CHS

Last week, Modern Healthcare affirmed its concerns about Lutheran Health Network owner Community Health Systems (CHS) in an article entitled “CHS to sell Dade City hospital to Adventist Health” http://www.modernhealthcare.com/…/chs-to-sell-dade-city-hos…. As the title...

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Holiday warnings from NICHE

This was the lede to this morning’s Journal Gazette article. “A group of Fort Wayne doctors affiliated with Lutheran Health Network (LHN) have ended their employment with the network over a contract dispute, according to a statement issued Friday by a network...

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Has Lutheran Health Network (LHN) Listened to NICHE?

Amino (https://amino.com/) is a healthcare database company in San Francisco that provides free access to healthcare data. They modestly submit that visitors to their site can “Get access to information you can’t find anywhere else—from cost estimates at facilities to...

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How Do the Aetna/CVS Merger and MinuteClinics Affect You?

The answer appears to be yes, if one believes this snippet in a recent News-Sentinel story (http://www.news-sentinel.com/…/lutheran-health-ceo-investm…/): “Lutheran Health Network will have invested $100 million in 100 construction projects and 300 capital and...

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Questions we’ve been asked

CVS has been very much in the news, given its purchase of Aetna Health--pending Federal antitrust review--for $69 billion. The review will be done either by the Justice Department or the FTC, both of which have jurisdiction--the FTC being the more lenient according to...

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Medicaid and emergency room visits

Earlier this month, Becker's Hospital Review--a respected national industry publication--referenced a Journal Gazette story (http://www.journalgazette.net/…/action-in-chs-suit-delayed-…) in a report on the decision to halt depositions in the lawsuit filed by Lutheran...

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Modern Healthcare Spotlights Falling Hospital Margins

Stories from the Tampa Bay Business Journal (https://www.bizjournals.com/…/how-community-health-systems-…) and the Tampa Bay Times (http://www.tampabay.com/…/City-Council-sinks-deal-to-alter-…) confirm that distrust of Community Health Systems (CHS) by the St....

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The CDC’s guide to the new shingles vaccine

This morning, in a top-of-fold front page article, the Journal Gazette contrasted two public statements from Lutheran Health Network (LHN) (http://www.journalgazette.net/…/6-gi-doctors-back-with-luth…). The first statement, issued before Christmas, read in part: “We...

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Lutheran revenue best reinvested here

In January, Lutheran Health Network (LHN)-owner Community Health Systems (CHS) reached a $98 million settlement in response to 2011 charges against alleging fraudulent hospital admissions. As Becker’s Hospital Review reported...

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North River Property Abandoned by LHN

Earlier this month, Becker's Hospital Review--a respected national industry publication--referenced a Journal Gazette story (http://www.journalgazette.net/…/action-in-chs-suit-delayed-…) in a report on the decision to halt depositions in the lawsuit filed by Lutheran...

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Is capitalism to blame for our healthcare woes?

Bob Herman reports at Axios.com, using 2014 data, that Medicaid now pays for more ER visits than any other source. The trend is shown in the graph below and represents, in great part, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). In October...

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The Next Hospital Reform?

Is capitalism to blame for our healthcare woes? In October, we posted about a New York Times article entitled "Shouldn’t Doctors Control Hospital Care?" (https://www.facebook.com/IndianaCitizens4HealthcareExcellence/posts/1957844474488391). Last week, Spencer Norton...

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Hospital-employed physicians drain Medicare

Dr. Neel Shah, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, recently wrote an article for Politico about the unfortunate assumption that hospital patients need beds--and not room to walk...

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The Checkup: Physician Depression

Is capitalism to blame for our healthcare woes? In October, we posted about a New York Times article entitled "Shouldn’t Doctors Control Hospital Care?" (https://www.facebook.com/IndianaCitizens4HealthcareExcellence/posts/1957844474488391). Last week, Spencer Norton...

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Nurse Depression?

Dr. Neel Shah, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, recently wrote an article for Politico about the unfortunate assumption that hospital patients need beds--and not room to walk...

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Would a CVS-Aetna merger lower health care costs?

Why does NICHE focus so often on nurse/patient staff ratios? A recent study from the Ohio State University (OSU) states that depression is common among nurses and is linked to increased medical errors (https://news.osu.edu/…/nurses-depression-tied-to-increased…/). In...

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Vera Bradley, Indiana University, and Cancer Survival

In Fort Wayne, CVS is well known for its MinuteClinics, filling prescriptions, not selling tobacco, and being next door to Walgreen’s. But according to The Economist (https://www.economist.com/…/21730906-vertical-integration-c…), the pharmacy world is suddenly in a...

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Letter from Jerry Henry, Jr.

Why does NICHE focus so often on nurse/patient staff ratios? A recent study from the Ohio State University (OSU) states that depression is common among nurses and is linked to increased medical errors (https://news.osu.edu/…/nurses-depression-tied-to-increased…/). In...

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IU Health: Competition Will Help

Sometimes speech deserves to be defended even when we find it personally distasteful. Such is the case with the “Sajin Young” Facebook page, which criticized Lutheran Health Network (LHN) and its parent company, Community Health Systems (CHS). Often sophomoric,...

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Surge pricing and concierge medicine

News-Sentinel Editor Kevin Leininger interviewed Dr. Geoffrey Randolph recently about IU Health’s growth in the Fort Wayne market (http://www.news-sentinel.com/ne…/local-news/2017/…/04/90049/). Said Randolph, “Competition is good for consumers and could improve...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 8

Sometimes speech deserves to be defended even when we find it personally distasteful. Such is the case with the “Sajin Young” Facebook page, which criticized Lutheran Health Network (LHN) and its parent company, Community Health Systems (CHS). Often sophomoric,...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 7

News-Sentinel Editor Kevin Leininger interviewed Dr. Geoffrey Randolph recently about IU Health’s growth in the Fort Wayne market (http://www.news-sentinel.com/ne…/local-news/2017/…/04/90049/). Said Randolph, “Competition is good for consumers and could improve...

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Shareholders push for changes at Community Health Systems

Q: I understand your mission, and why you frame posts the way you tend to. But do you think there is room to increase the public's confidence in their care with LHN while still getting the message out there? A: First, thank you for understanding. It is awkward for...

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Forward-looking statements and fuzzy math

Bloomberg and Becker’s Hospital CFO Report note trouble at Lutheran Health Network-owner Community Health System (CHS). They cite quarterly financial losses that are likely to be seen as failing according to third quarter results. One telling quote...

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Defining “need” in the CON game

Q: I understand your mission, and why you frame posts the way you tend to. But do you think there is room to increase the public's confidence in their care with LHN while still getting the message out there? A: First, thank you for understanding. It is awkward for...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 6

Bloomberg and Becker’s Hospital CFO Report note trouble at Lutheran Health Network-owner Community Health System (CHS). They cite quarterly financial losses that are likely to be seen as failing according to third quarter results. One telling quote...

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Leapfrogging to Better Care

Q: What do people mean when they talk about “syndication”? A: Syndication refers to partial physician ownership of a hospital system. In Fort Wayne, for example, approximately 20 - 28% of LHN and Dupont Hospital are physician owned. It is a structure of governance and...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 5

Today, WANE-TV reported on the 2017 Leapfrog report comparing hospitals (http://wane.com/…/nonprofit-watchdog-group-releases-2017-h…/). As WANE reports, “Parkview Regional Medical Center received an A grade, while the three facilities run by Lutheran Health Network...

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Halloween for CHS: Toil and Trouble

Q: What do people mean when they talk about “syndication”? A: Syndication refers to partial physician ownership of a hospital system. In Fort Wayne, for example, approximately 20 - 28% of LHN and Dupont Hospital are physician owned. It is a structure of governance and...

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Your support is needed as we continue our efforts.

Today, WANE-TV reported on the 2017 Leapfrog report comparing hospitals (http://wane.com/…/nonprofit-watchdog-group-releases-2017-h…/). As WANE reports, “Parkview Regional Medical Center received an A grade, while the three facilities run by Lutheran Health Network...

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New IU Health Facilities: Growth and Competition

Sometimes speech deserves to be defended even when we find it personally distasteful. Such is the case with the “Sajin Young” Facebook page, which criticized Lutheran Health Network (LHN) and its parent company, Community Health Systems (CHS). Often sophomoric,...

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A Tale of Two Hospitals

From yesterday’s News-Sentinel (http://www.news-sentinel.com/…/iu-health-planning-3-fort-w…/): “‘IU is committed (to Fort Wayne) for the long-term,’ said the source, who said construction of a full-service hospital, probably downtown, is possible later.” A...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 4

Q: What do people mean when they talk about “syndication”? A: Syndication refers to partial physician ownership of a hospital system. In Fort Wayne, for example, approximately 20 - 28% of LHN and Dupont Hospital are physician owned. It is a structure of governance and...

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Vaccines: a net good

Today’s post is part of an ongoing series wherein we answer questions and address comments made by our followers. If you have a question you’d like to address, post it or message us on Facebook, or send it anonymously via our website. Q: I was just informed that Dr....

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If CHS sold LHN: What then?

In Fort Wayne, CVS is well known for its MinuteClinics, filling prescriptions, not selling tobacco, and being next door to Walgreen’s. But according to The Economist (https://www.economist.com/…/21730906-vertical-integration-c…), the pharmacy world is suddenly in a...

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Sajin’s Satire–and its place in the conversation about LHN

Fans of Looney Tunes’ Bugs Bunny may recall his signature question: “What’s up, Doc?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwLn_His9Yw Seventy-seven years later Bugs’ question is relevant. What’s up with the rumors of a third hospital system in Fort Wayne? The Journal...

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CEO Michael Poore’s Letter to LHN–Consultants and Commitments

Bob Herman reports at Axios.com, using 2014 data, that Medicaid now pays for more ER visits than any other source. The trend is shown in the graph below and represents, in great part, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). In October...

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Music and Medicine

Bob Herman reports at Axios.com, using 2014 data, that Medicaid now pays for more ER visits than any other source. The trend is shown in the graph below and represents, in great part, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). In October...

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Tennessee Sells Community Health Systems Stock

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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Attacking Healthcare Costs: The Attack on Hospitals

In 2012, Community Health Systems (CHS) fired CFO Gregg Becker from his position as CFO of Rockwood Clinic in Spokane, Washington. Becker claimed he was fired because he would not understate losses. The Spokane Journal of Business reports...

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Healthcare Industry Problems: You Decide

On December 17, CBS News reported that “more people appear to be choosing to use an Uber for rides to the hospital” versus calling an ambulance. David Slusky, assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas and co-author Leon Moskatel studied ambulance...

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CHS Statement of Beliefs

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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Letter from CEO, Mr. Mike Poore to LHN staff

Bob Herman reports at Axios.com, using 2014 data, that Medicaid now pays for more ER visits than any other source. The trend is shown in the graph below and represents, in great part, the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). In October...

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New CEO at Lutheran Hospital

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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Two News Briefs

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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Why Can’t Lutheran Hospital Recruit Local Physicians?

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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Hospital Information Technology: Expensive & Difficult

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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Building trust

Could this happen in Fort Wayne? Tennova hospital in West Knoxville, Tennessee, may provide an interesting precedent for other Community Health Systems-owned hospitals--including St. Joesph Hospital. Some history: In 2014, as reported by WATE-TV...

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From Our Mailbag: Questions & Comments – Part 1

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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Vagueness tempering enthusiasm for hospital

With Apologies to Jonathan Swift Community Health Systems (CHS) shares its many costs with Lutheran Health Network (LHN.) We must assume that at least some part of the $144 million cost of compensation for the top five CHS executives, as reported by Morningstar...

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Debt Sickened a Hospital Giant. Now the Doctors Are Revolting

The new tax bill, as it exists in Congressional Conference Committee, may remove the ability of nonprofit (NFP) hospitals to issue tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals are particularly concerned about measures to limit tax-exempt financing for not-for-profit organizations,...

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Sources: New St. Joe Hospital could be preemptive strike

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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Crisis Management at LHN

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 here.

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CHS: Tone Deaf?

Could this happen in Fort Wayne? Tennova hospital in West Knoxville, Tennessee, may provide an interesting precedent for other Community Health Systems-owned hospitals--including St. Joesph Hospital. Some history: In 2014, as reported by WATE-TV...

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Dr. Steven Orlow Resigns from Lutheran Board

Hospital safety inspections are not available to a public that must make decisions about their own hospital choices. The article below is from Axios, a blog form of “new journalism,” that has wide readership among business persons and legislators. With the advent of...

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Will Fort Wayne Be the Next Pottstown?

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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Mr. Smith Comes to Fort Wayne

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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Treat Lutheran more as partner, less as child

The new tax bill, as it exists in Congressional Conference Committee, may remove the ability of nonprofit (NFP) hospitals to issue tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals are particularly concerned about measures to limit tax-exempt financing for not-for-profit organizations,...

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Secret Hospital Inspections May Become Public At Last

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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“OMG! They’re Here!”

The new tax bill, as it exists in Congressional Conference Committee, may remove the ability of nonprofit (NFP) hospitals to issue tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals are particularly concerned about measures to limit tax-exempt financing for not-for-profit organizations,...

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Community Health Systems: Downgraded, Again

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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Casualties of CHS

The new tax bill, as it exists in Congressional Conference Committee, may remove the ability of nonprofit (NFP) hospitals to issue tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals are particularly concerned about measures to limit tax-exempt financing for not-for-profit organizations,...

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Dupont Hospital to Lose Its Four-Star Rating

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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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A very Poore choice

This week, Dr. Rudy Kachmann made his way to Lutheran’s Administrative offices following a phone call suggesting that he come in to discuss the wellness program at Lutheran Hospital. When he arrived, expecting that he would be asked to expand the program as Medical...

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No Plastic Surgery Coverage at Lutheran Hospital Emergency Room

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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