The chief executive officer of the Lutheran Health Network says he's confident a proposed $500 million investment in its eight hospitals and other facilities will happen despite its proposed purchase by a group of local physicians.
"Investing in patients is the right thing to do at any time," said Brian Bauer, who with several doctors was in suburban Nashville, Tenn., this week to attend a board meeting of Community Health Systems, which has owned the local network since 2007. As The News-Sentinel first reported Monday, the physicians and others have been concerned by what they say has been a lack of investment by CHS in the Lutheran network.
Bauer characterized the meeting as "a great dialogue," but said it will be up to CHS to weigh any buy-out offer.
"I'm CEO here; I'm an advocate for patients and my focus is on Lutheran," he said. "The rest of it isn't something I focus on or my responsibility."
The $500 million investment would be be made over the next five to six years, and a $6.1 million expansion of the Lutheran Hospital emergency facilities is already underway. Other proposed improvements include a top-to-bottom renovation of Lutheran Hospital to upgrade and update numerous patient and guest services areas; creation of an outpatient cardiovascular center; an advanced digestive treatment center; and improved outpatient services.
Bauer said employees have been excited about the proposed upgrades and said their concern remains with the patients. "They don't care who owns us," he said.
Officials at CHS, which currently operates 146 hospitals in 21 states, were unavailable for comment.