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Lutheran Health physicians say relationship with CHS 'not reconcilable'

Medical staff at Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Lutheran Health Network is showing support for a sale of Lutheran from Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems, reports The News-Sentinel.

In a position endorsed by about 100 physicians, medical staff said it supports a sale because it does not have confidence in CHS to "make decisions that are in the best interests of our patients, staff and community. While CHS has owned Lutheran for the past 10 years, Lutheran medical staff said "the relationship . . . is not reconcilable," according to the report.

The Lutheran physicians said in a statement they "urge the board of CHS to immediately work with our physicians to determine a suitable partner for the purchase of Lutheran Health Network. Time is critical and any further connection to CHS will harm our organization," reports The News-Sentinel. Physicians also said they have full confidence in Lutheran CEO Brian Bauer and remain committed to their jobs.

The physicians' remarks come amid a local physician group's proposed acquisition of Lutheran. The proposed acquisition of Lutheran would include RediMed clinics and other facilities.

Lutheran also recently announced it will pursue a multiyear $500 million capital investment plan for nearly all of its facilities. James Cameron, MD, Lutheran Hospital chief of staff, said while be believes the announcement was sincere, he would "like to see that [plan] accelerated from over five or six years to one or two," reports The News-Sentinel. The publication has noted it is unclear how or if a change in ownership would affect the $500 million capital investment plan.

CHS has not commented on the proposed sale to The News-Sentinel. In an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review earlier this week, Tomi Galin, senior vice president of corporate communications and marketing at CHS, said CHS does not generally comment on potential acquisition or divestiture activity. However, "we remain very focused on the long-term success of Lutheran Health Network," she said. "We are very excited about the $500 million capital plan announced last week and the opportunity to make a transformative investment that will enhance patient care and expand health services in Fort Wayne, as well as bring jobs and other economic benefit to the community."


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