FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Friday morning, City Councilman Dr. John Crawford, along with fellow Council members, held a press conference to discuss the proposed sale of the Lutheran Health Network from Community Health Systems (CHS) to a group of physicians.
“As a City Councilman, I support this proposed buyout… it is much more beneficial for Fort Wayne residents when the profits generated by the Lutheran Health Network are able to remain in Fort Wayne,” said Dr. Crawford.
According to a press release issued by Fort Wayne City Council, the Lutheran Health Network generated $300 million in net profits last year. CHS had a net loss of $1.7 billion in 2016 and has a $15 billion debt burden. The Lutheran Health Network operations in Northeast Indiana are subsidizing the massive losses of CHS.
Last night, a large group of the Lutheran medical staff met to discuss the proposed buyout. The medical staff unanimously passed a resolution, part of which was read by Dr. Crawford:
“The Medical Staff of Lutheran Hospital has been made aware the Community Health Systems met with physicians of Lutheran Health Network this week. We are also aware that you (the Board of CHS) have received an offer for purchase of the Lutheran Health Network. An informational meeting of the Medical Staff was requested by the Medical Staff President to attempt to clarify these actions and as a consequence of that special meeting, we hereby resolve: We are committed to continue providing the highest quality care to the community.”
The medical staff believes that it is in the best interest of their patients and the Fort Wayne community that the proposed buyout occurs.
Councilman Michael Barranda issued this statement, relating to the proposed sale, “St. Joseph Hospital has served the Fort Wayne community with compassionate care for 150 years. Last night the Board of Directors passed a unanimous vote of no confidence for the ownership and control by Community Health Systems, Inc. over St. Joseph Hospital and the Lutheran Health Network. As a member of City Council and a member of the St. Joseph Hospital Board of Directors, I remain committed to ensuring that St. Joseph Hospital continues to provide compassionate, quality care to the citizens of downtown Fort Wayne and the greater community at large. I support all efforts to bring back local control of the network to the community I serve.”
Healthcare is the leading employer in Allen County with more than 30,000 jobs in the county.