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The Lutheran Hospital Gi docs have been a topic of discussion at holiday parties. Comments and questions have come from all quarters—nurses, doctors, interested citizens. NICHE has not been able to talk to any of the Gi docs, but bits and pieces of information have been offered. Mostly however, there are questions. People are puzzled. For example:

Did Lutheran Health Network (LHN) intend to leave the impression that their Gi docs are not committed to quality? Many people we met knew these physicians personally and some had been cared for by them or even worked with them. To them, it was not credible that the Gi docs were not committed to quality.

Why, some asked, would LHN give a negative impression of physicians they may again hire? Is it possible that LHN will not continue to negotiate? If that is true, how will they find qualified gastroenterologists in a market scarce with that specialty?

NICHE was told by credible sources that ambulances are diverting gastrointestinal emergencies to Parkview. Can that be confirmed? If that is true, will Lutheran GI docs be able to treat patients at Parkview. Will network insurance coverage be affected?

We were asked if coverage for gastrointestinal emergencies is being provided by Gastroenterologists and not by other specialties such as Colon and Rectal Surgeons. NICHE cannot confirm that, but we’ve been told that coverage was arranged as readily as possible from those physicians who were available over the holiday. We know of no locum tenans gastroenterologists being hired, and it would seem that several such specialists would be needed to cover the entire holiday period. NICHE asks: Can anyone tell us exactly who is providing the coverage?

NICHE awaits hearing details of the contracting impasse from the Gi docs themselves. Is their contractural separation permanent? Will they retain their medical staff privileges at Lutheran Hospital?

We regret that we have far more questions than answers, but we are certain that Fort Wayne citizens are interested in answers.