Lutheran Health Network CEO talks $500M investment, buyout reports

Lutheran Health Network CEO Brian Bauer talks to NewsChannel 15. FILE

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Lutheran Health Network CEO Brian Bauer answered questions for the first time Thursday about plans for a half billion dollar investment and claims that a physicians’ group wants to buy the health network.

The investment was announced last week via a press release. Bauer was not available for an interview at the time, and no one from Lutheran would speak more about its parent company’s plans for the health network.

Days later, our news-gathering partners from the News-Sentinel reported a local physician’s group, along with Bauer, traveled to Tennessee to meet with its parent company Community Health Systems to put in a bid to buy the health network.

“I was in Tennessee having conversations with our parent company and some physicians were there as well, but I can’t comment on the content of that dialogue,” Bauer told NewsChannel 15 reporter Holly Campbell.

Thursday, Bauer said he is excited to move forward with the half billion dollar investment.

“Lutheran is a strong and healthy organization today and we’re excited to announce $500 million investment in all of our Lutheran Health Network facilities and in the community,” Bauer said.

However, not everyone at Lutheran is excited about the plans. Saturday, a group of past and present Lutheran Health Network employees are planning to protest Community Health Systems.
A flyer posted on Facebook says the $500 million investment is too little, too late.

“Without taking sides, the network is blessed to serve employees, physicians, patients and many supporters throughout the area who are so passionate about LHN being exceptional,” Public Relations Supervisor Geoff Thomas said.

The News-Sentinel reported employees are frustrated that CHS doesn’t invest enough back into the local facilities. 

“We have no issues with the investment in this facility,” Bauer said.

Bauer also told Campbell that, to his knowledge, Lutheran Health Network will not be changing ownership anytime soon.

Fort Wayne City Council Dr. John Crawford (R-at-large) is expected to address issues surrounding Lutheran Hospital. Crawford and other council members and local physicians are expected to express their thoughts about a potential buyout of Lutheran Health Network and how it would benefit Fort Wayne.