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Yesterday, Lutheran Health Network (LHN) and its owner, Community Health Systems (CHS), terminated pediatric hematologist/oncologist Scott Myers, MD, seemingly without cause. Dr. Myers had no warning that a termination was in the offing, and in fact had been praised for taking the initiative to lead efforts to improve quality assurance at LHN. After being recruited to LHN in 2016, Dr. Myers made Fort Wayne his home and not only practiced medicine but earned a teaching appointment at his alma mater, the Indiana University School of Medicine.

NICHE finds this development particularly jarring given the questions it raises:

– If a successful children’s cancer doctor can be discarded without warning, is anyone at LHN safe?

– What’s the effect on children with cancer and their families when they lose their doctor without warning…or a goodbye?

– How credible is new LHN CEO Michael Poore if these terminations continue to happen on his watch, despite his claims about moving LHN forward?

– What does it say when LHN will so carelessly dismiss someone with a stated goal of improving quality?

– If loyalty is truly a two-way street, how can LHN and CHS expect to retain physician and nursing talent?

– Perhaps most importantly, as the LHN physician team continues to suffer losses, how can LHN claim to uphold even average standards of quality?

Good men like Dr. Myers would undoubtedly be treated fairly by any organization claiming to put patients first and to seeking to mend fences with physicians and staff. Accordingly, this is a considerable step in the wrong direction by LHN, and it makes Poore’s recent letter to staff (which NICHE will elaborate on shortly) seem insincere at best. It’s going to take more than words to satisfy increasing doubts about Poore’s claims to be anything more than a CHS puppet and to be interested in anything but profit.