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CHS rejects physicians' $2.4B offer for Lutheran Health Network

Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems refused a local physician group's offer to purchase Lutheran Health Network, an eight-hospital system in Fort Wayne, Ind. The for-profit hospital operator said the group "failed to satisfy any reasonable criteria of a legitimate offer," according to the News-Sentinel.

The group submitted a proposal May 18 to purchase LHN for $2.4 billion. CHS officials had until 12 p.m. Monday to accept or reject the offer.

More than 100 physicians, medical staff and 17 area members of the Indiana Legislature issued their support for the sale. The physician group said it decided to submit an offer because it no longer believed CHS would "make decisions that are in the best interest of [their] patients, staff and community," LHN medical staff told the News-Sentinel May 19.

Minutes before the deadline, the for-profit hospital operator notified the group that "it does not intend to have further discussions about a potential sale," according to the report.

CHS officials reportedly told the News-Sentinel the group "declined to sign a standard non-disclosure agreement, never produced a qualified buyer for direct negotiations, never described how the deal would be structured and never submitted a written proposal or offer for evaluation."

Officials also claimed that during a May 15 board meeting, the physicians representing the group did not spend an adequate amount of time outlining their $2.4 billion proposal, which officials reportedly called "grossly insufficient to the value of Lutheran Health Network," according to the report. Officials said the physician group also did not address whether the new owner would honor the $500 million in capital investments CHS had planned to provide, a promise CHS officials reaffirmed last week.

CHS has owned Lutheran Health Network since 2007.

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