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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 require telling at a later date. For the moment it is enough to share with NICHE readers Dr. Orlow’s own words to Dr. Mark King as Board Chair:

Mark

Please receive this letter as my immediate resignation from the Lutheran Hospital of Indiana Advisory Board. Last night Mr. Poore pulled me out of the board room and asked me why I was at the meeting. I responded that I am a member of the LHI board and that I had indicated in my notice of termination email to Mr. Poore that I intended to stay on the board. He stated he was confused, indicating that he assumed I attended only as the CMIO, and he had “searched the board minutes” unable to find any indication of my election to the board. I responded that I was a board member long before I was CMIO (email from April Spencer confirms at least since 2009) and once I was employed as CMIO, I had confirmed with LHI leadership that they desired for me to continue in the same capacity.

Mr. Poore stated we would need a longer talk regarding my position on the board because he wants people who will work with him and not against him. I stated that I wish to be on the board to protect the interests of the patients and the 7,000 people who report to him. He quickly indicated that those are not the same thing. Mark, I believe they should be the same thing.

During the meeting Mr. Poore continued the entrenched practice of taking credit for the work product of the group of 10 physicians who originally attempted to separate Lutheran from the failing CHS. In the meeting he reviewed the LHN deferred maintenance–only now being remediated–as a gift from CHS to the hospitals. Everyone with a modest understanding of the chronology knows that without the brave 10, the maintenance remediation would not have happened. Mr. Poore reviewed with pride the implementation of a first class Cerner platform without once mentioning that without the actions of the brave physicians, only 2 of the 26 modules currently being installed would have been installed. This amounts to corporate plagiarism–CHS pretends that they are the authors of these ideas but we know that these ideas started with the 10.

When I walked into the boardroom a doctor told me he did not know how long he could keep participating in the board because nothing was changing. After the board meeting, two board members indicated decreasing stamina for attendance and one said, “this is supposed to be an advisory board but it does not seem like they want our advice.”

I had hoped to be effective at the board level to affect healing. Healing requires agreeing on historical facts, listening to the ideas of others and leading with service and consensus. I do not see healing happening.

Steve Orlow