Lutheran Health executive resigns, claims CHS forced physician group to disband

Steven Orlow, MD, chief medical information officer for Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network, resigned Thursday, according to

In his resignation letter to Lutheran Health interim CEO Mike Poore, obtained by, Dr. Orlow claimed parent company Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems mismanaged the health network and reinvested "too little in the LHN market," according to the report. 

Dr. Orlow noted how numerous changes in management have affected employees across the health network. He said during his tenure, he has seen two CIOs, two chief technology officers, one chief nursing informatics officer, one CMO and numerous staff members resign because "CHS provides such a frustrating and unrewarding … work environment," according to the report.

Dr. Orlow also claimed the recently disbanded 10-member physician group that attempted to purchase the health network dissolved because CHS threatened them with litigation. He said the group, which he dubbed the "Brave 10," was responsible for CHS' promise to invest $500 million in the health network by highlighting several concerns involving personnel and equipment, among other issues, at various Lutheran Health facilities.

"The most recent CHS generated false news is the assertion that Fort Wayne Physicians voluntarily disbanded their [group]," Dr. Orlow wrote. Instead, he claimed, "[CHS] threatened, 'termination of employment agreements, involuntary redemption of membership interests in related LHN affiliated limited liability companies and removal from officer and board member positions among the LHN-affiliated entities' advisory boards of trustees and boards of directors.'"

He continued: "[CHS] held a gun to the head of the Brave 10 and they chose to protect their families by allowing a joint news release. The CHS tactics executed in the Fort Wayne market are evidence of failing to take responsibility for having dangerously drained LHN financial resources."

Dr. Orlow's resignation follows the recent firing of Lutheran Health's former CEO Brian Bauer and CMO Geoff Randolph, MD.

To read Dr. Orlow's resignation letter, click here.

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