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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 former CEO Brian Bauer was fired–and none was then offered to the PS group by his successor. NICHE was told that the surgeons were informed by new management (at the time Mr. Marty Bonick and Mr. Mike Poore) that Community Health Services (CHS), across its universe of hospitals, ordinarily had no such contracts for plastic surgery. According to the surgeons, new LH management demeaned both the surgeons and the necessity for such coverage.

NICHE was informed that this week, a patient who needed plastic surgery (and unable to pay), was transferred to Parkview Hospital’s Emergency Room for treatment. Accordingly, it’s worth noting:

– Fort Wayne Emergency Rooms have for years offered plastic surgical services.
– In current times, contracts for coverage are commonplace because physicians who cover emergency room problems of all sorts must set aside uninterrupted time, often away from family, and often at night. Such coverage interferes with the physician’s’ ability to work a full schedule the day following.
– All Fort Wayne hospitals have shared the burden of emergency coverage.
– All Fort Wayne hospitals have offered indigent care across specialty lines.
– The Saint Joseph’s Hospital Burn unit did not retain its staff of plastic surgeons, substituting generalists in their place.

It is of particular concern that in the confusion of CHS management turnover leading to the departure of both Mr. Bauer and Mr. Bonick that this should have fallen to Mr. Poore. That said, it is a problem that must be solved, and he appears to own the problem.