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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Citing 'chasm' with owners, three more Lutheran doctors resign

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Saturday, July 15, 2017 07:39 am

Three more high-ranking members of Lutheran Hospital's medical staff have resigned in protest of actions by the hospital's Tennessee-based owner — including the chief of staff who in a May  meeting criticized the corporation's "bottom-line" culture and suggested some of its officials had not been truthful.

Medical Staff President James Cameron, Hospital President-Elect Matt Carr and Medical Staff Vice President Marlene Bultemeyer announced their immediate resignations in a letter sent Friday to hospital CEO Michael Poore.

"Although we had the most sincere intentions of guiding the medical staff in the years to come, the events of the past days and weeks have shown that this process will take more than we could individually or collectively accomplish without compromising the quality of care we now provide our patients," they wrote. "The loss of Brian Bauer as our CEO and the loss of (Lutheran Health Network Chief Medical Officer) Geoff Randolph and Matt Sutter as our chief medical officer have created a wide chasm between administration and the medical staff that would keep us from making any positive contribution to the future of the hospital. Furthermore, we do not believe that recruiting a new CMO from a national pool of applicants will improve the present situation."

Randolph was fired last month; Sutter resigned. Bauer was also fired in June as CEO of the hospital and LHN, and other doctors and executives have also resigned or been fired in the wake of a locally led group's unsuccessful $2.4 billion bid to buy the network from Community Health Systems, which critics contend has not adequately invested in local hospitals in order to subsidize less-profitable operations elsewhere.

In a May meeting between doctors and CHS officials, Cameron said the corporation had not been truthful in some of its criticisms of that offer, and suggested that could make it difficult to build trust. When he had finished speaking he introduced the CHS representatives — at which point the doctors left the room.

"We would urge you to publicly recognize the necessity of working with the medical staff of your hospital and the sense of loyalty that our community, employees and staff hold dearly before it's too late," the letter concluded.



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