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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 23, 2017 12:01 am

Statement from Lutheran Health Network spokesperson

After lengthy negotiations, a group of physicians who specialize in gastrointestinal medicine (GI) and who work for Lutheran Health Network rejected new employment agreements and allowed their contracts to expire last night, effectively ending their employment with our organization and the care they were providing for their patients.

With patient care as our top priority, Lutheran Health Network has arranged for coverage by other physicians and with other healthcare providers in the community to ensure uninterrupted patient care for hospitalized patients and for any emergency cases. We will work with all of our patients to ensure they have continued access to the care they need.

Stunningly, even though each of the physicians was offered an individual renewal contract with an increase in compensation, these physicians demanded that we reduce the portion of their compensation awarded for meeting quality metrics that are important to patient outcomes. Industry standards increasingly tie reimbursement and compensation to quality and services outcomes. The proposed new agreement tied only five percent of each physician's annual compensation to quality metrics, but the physicians insisted that their agreement contain fewer quality measures and that the amount of income tied to quality be lowered.

The physicians' decision to abruptly end their relationship with Lutheran Medical Group and Lutheran Health Network is disappointing for our patients and the staff who worked alongside these physicians. We are focused now on recruiting new highly skilled GI physicians who hold the physician-patient relationship to a higher standard and want to work collaboratively with us to advance quality and provide the best possible patient experience.