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  • Kachmann

Wednesday, September 06, 2017 1:00 am

Lutheran cancels Kachmann's deal

Spent over 40 years with hospital

SHERRY SLATER | The Journal Gazette

Local wellness guru and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Rudy Kachmann is parting ways with Lutheran Hospital after officials canceled his contract.

Lutheran spokesman Geoff Thomas confirmed the decision Tuesday. The agreement ends Oct. 1.

“Lutheran Hospital provides wellness support for employees and patients in many ways,” Thomas said in an email. “Dr. Kachmann's contract to serve as a contributor to some of these efforts has been canceled by the hospital. His assistance in this area over the past four years has been greatly appreciated.”

Companies begin and end consulting contracts in the normal course of business without raising eyebrows. But Lutheran's parent company, Community Health Systems, has alienated some local employees, doctors and business leaders with many of its recent decisions.

In May, the corporate board rejected the effort of 10 local doctors to persuade CHS to sell its share of the network to an investment group approved by the doctors.

CHS said the $2.4 billion buyout offer was at least $1 billion too low. The doctors said the real reason CHS doesn't want to sell is that Lutheran's network makes $200 million to $300 million in annual profit, and CHS needs to continue siphoning off that money to prop up its failing corporation.

The fallout has included the firing or resignation of top administrative officials including Brian Bauer, CEO of Lutheran Health Network and Lutheran Hospital; Aaron Garofola, CEO of Dupont Hospital; Geoff Randolph, Lutheran network's chief medical officer; Dr. Matt Sutter, Lutheran Hospital's chief medical officer; Dr. Vincent Scavo, a cardiothoracic surgeon; among other.

Local business leaders Chuck Surack, Tom Kelley and Mike Eikenberry have resigned their seats on Lutheran Hospital and Lutheran Health Network's advisory boards more than a month ago, citing frustration that their opinions didn't carry more weight.

It's unclear whether Lutheran's decision to end Kachmann's contract was somehow tied up in the ongoing tensions, done as a cost-cutting measure or was related to something else entirely.

Thomas said Lutheran officials wish Kachmann, who is in his 80s, “nothing but the best” going forward.

“This is just a small chapter of a long and storied career that has seen him devote his life to the betterment of our hospitals and the entire region,” Thomas said. “His impact at Lutheran included approximately 45 years on the medical staff and several more after that assisting with initiatives outside of the operating room.”

Kachmann and his wife, Rhonda, have donated money to numerous community groups over the years, including IPFW toward scholarships and a tennis facility; Indiana Tech, which named a cafe after the couple; and Lutheran Hospital, which named an auditorium after the doctor on the lower level of Lutheran Hospital Medical Office Building Two.

Thomas ended his email saying, “(Kachmann) will continue to be welcomed on campus and in the auditorium that bears his name.”