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Northeast Indiana legislators support Lutheran sale

May 21, 2017 GMT

A bid by local doctors to buy Lutheran Health Network got the backing of 17 northeast Indiana legislators Sunday.

In a joint email the group said each has heard from members of the medical community frustrated with current owner Community Health Systems’ “failure to properly invest in the Lutheran Health Network over the past few years.”

“Given the current financial problems being experienced by CHS, we have no confidence that this lack of investment will change anytime soon,” the email states.

It was signed by Sens. David Long, R-Fort Wayne; Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse; Sue Glick, R-LaGrange; Randy Head, R-Logansport; Travis Holdman, R-Markle; Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn; Andy Zay, R-Huntington; and Reps. Martin Carbaugh, R-Fort Wayne; Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne; Dave Heine, R-New Haven; Matt Lehman, R-Berne; Dan Leonard, R-Huntington; Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne; David Ober, R-Albion; Ben Smaltz, R-Auburn; David Wolkins, R-Warsaw; and Denny Zent, R-Angola.

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Sources have said an offer was made by about 300 local doctors last week to Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems, which bought Lutheran’s network in 2007. In a story posted Friday, Bloomberg reported the doctors gave noon Monday as their deadline to accept the offer.

Employees of the Lutheran network rallied in support of the sale Saturday, some pointing to low pay, outdated equipment and neglected buildings. Some city leaders also have voiced approval of the sale.

CHS has not commented on the bid. The company recently announced it will invest $500 million in the network over five or six years. Critics say the investment comes too late.

In their email, the legislators call the Lutheran medical community “top notch” and “firmly dedicated” to the region. It asks CHS to sell to the doctors “as soon as reasonably possible.”

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