Officials fly into Fort Wayne morning after firings, resignations at Lutheran

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Officials with the parent company of Lutheran Health Network flew into Fort Wayne early Tuesday, the morning after a high-ranking doctor was fired and two others resigned in the latest upheaval at Lutheran Health Network.

NewsChannel 15 has learned late Monday that LHN Chief Medical Officer Dr. Geoff Randolph had been fired Monday. His termination comes two weeks after the firing of Lutheran Health Network CEO Brian Bauer.

FILE – Lutheran Hospital

In addition, two physicians tendered their resignations. Dr. Kevin Stockmaster, the Chairman of Anesthesiology, said he will leave LHN effective July 1, 2017.

“It has been a pleasure to work with you over the last 5-6 years,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve with you all. Due to the current state of affairs here at LHN, I am unable sit idle while my distinguished colleagues are unfairly dismissed from their clinical and administrative duties.  These uncontrollable external forces are actively undermining the medical executive committee’s ability to govern, care for patients, and compete in our market.”

Lutheran Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Matthew Sutter also submitted a letter of resignation. In it, he wrote:

Over the past several weeks, I’ve watched with dismay the CHS response to Lutheran hospital. While initially, there were kind words and discussions of reconciliation, the tone has quickly turned to one of retaliation. CHS’s personnel decisions including and following the firing of Brian Bauer appear designed to silence the legitimate concerns that many at Lutheran share about CHS’s leadership.
As part of this apparent program of silencing dissent, I recently learned that CHS has given notice of termination to Dr. Geoff Randolph. If Brian Bauer was the head of Lutheran hospital, then Dr. Randolph is the heart. Dr. Randolph has selflessly given to Lutheran hospital for more than 30 years, including more than 10 years in senior leadership.  His presence in the hospital is palpable, and there is no question that his absence will make it less effective. The decision to terminate him shows either a lack of understanding of, or a lack of regard for, this hospital as anything other than a financial instrument.
It pains me to give this notice. I’ve given 17 years as a clinician, caregiver and leader in this institution. I have great pride in the history and people of Lutheran hospital. However, I can no longer in good conscience serve as part of the leadership team.”

Officials with Community Health Systems, the parent company of Lutheran Health Network, arrive in Fort Wayne on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

Two weeks ago, leaders at Community Health Systems, which owns Lutheran Health Network, fired CEO Brian Bauer.

That dismissal came weeks CHS denied a $2.4 billion dollar offer to purchase LHN.

Community Health Systems officials flew into Fort Wayne early Tuesday on a private jet. It’s not clear why they were in the city. NewsChannel 15 was told to contact CHS’s communications team. Our reporter did, and was told the officials would not be providing interviews.