6 physicians rejoin CHS' Lutheran Health Network following contract dispute

A spokesperson for Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network confirmed six physicians have resumed their positions at the institution following a contract dispute, according to The Journal Gazette.

The six unidentified gastroenterologists reportedly rejected new employment agreements last month and allowed their contracts with Lutheran Health Network to expire, "effectively ending their employment with [the] organization and the care they were providing for their patients," a spokesperson for Lutheran said in a statement to The Journal Gazette Dec. 21.

The agreement reportedly tied 5 percent of the physicians' compensation to quality metrics and patient outcomes. The spokesperson told The Journal Gazette Jan. 2 those physicians rejected the agreement because they wanted the 5 percent figure to be lowered, according to the report.

It is unclear if physicians returned to work because Lutheran Health Network successfully met their contract demands.

The physicians' actions are the latest in a yearlong dispute between Lutheran Health Network physicians and the health network's parent company, Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems. Last year, a group of 10 physicians attempted to persuade CHS to sell Lutheran Health to an investment group. CHS officials said the investment firm's $2.4 billion offer was too low.

CHS also fired Brian Bauer, the former CEO of Lutheran Health Network, and sued him for breach of contract.

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