Doctors ‘still seeking solution’ to Lutheran buyout

Dr. Todd Rumsey and nine other physicians hoped to secure a new corporate partner for Lutheran Health Network.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  The group of local physicians that hoped to buy Lutheran Health Network spoke out Wednesday for the first time since Community Health Systems rejected the offer. Doctors said the board of CHS “has notified us they are no longer willing to engage with us or hear from us regarding the many critical issues that we have identified and demanded be corrected at facing Lutheran Health Network.”

On May 15, the ten doctors – referred to as Fort Wayne Physicians, LLC – offered CHS $2.4 billion to purchase Lutheran Health Network, but the CHS board of directors said that offer was a billion dollars below the fair market value.

“The physicians have failed to satisfy any reasonable criteria of a legitimate offer,” CHS officials said in a statement on May 22.

At a news conference Wednesday evening, Dr. Todd Rumsey released a letter to LHN employees, members of the medical staff, and board members. It stated, in part, “Last Monday Community Health Systems told you their version of what has happened. Now we will tell you what really happened.”

The letter signed by the ten members of Fort Wayne Physicians, LLC said the “lack of investment within LHN has been glaring” and cited workforce reductions, hiring freezes, threats of furloughs, and more. The letter outlined the steps the group had taken to secure a potential new corporate partner.

“On December 15, CHS committed to divest. Yet every time we came close to meeting the requirements of their process, CHS changed the apparent process,” Dr. Rumsey told NewsChannel 15.

When CHS issued a statement on May 22, it said, “The physicians refused to sign a standard non-disclosure agreement under which due diligence and negotiations could have occurred.”

The open letter provided by Fort Wayne Physicians, LLC said, “That is not true. The agreement CHS required we sign to initiate due diligence contained unacceptable restrictions on our fundamental obligation to provide quality health care, patient and staff advocacy and process improvement. And when they finally made the necessary changes, and we were prepared to sign, and told them we were ready to sign, CHS sabotaged the process.”

The letter ended by saying, “We continue to be dedicated to our patients and ensuring that LHN is the best that it can be, and doing what this community believes we need to do, to accomplish that. We need to hear from you.”