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CHS Lutheran CEO will hire new chief, but stay on board

The head of Lutheran Health Network in northern Indiana has announced plans to hire a new CEO while stepping aside to spend more time on strategic initiatives as Lutheran’s regional vice president.

Lutheran CEO Mike Poore has upgraded his system’s job posting from COO to CEO, according to the Journal Gazette.

He took over as CEO of Lutheran, an eight-hospital network owned by Community Health Systems, in August 2017 after CHS fired the previous CEO, Brian Bauer. Poore transferred to Fort Wayne-based Lutheran from his role as CHS’ operations vice president for the Professional Services Corp.

Since his move, Poore has worked to improve staff morale and relations with physicians and the community after a group of disgruntled local physicians tried and failed to buy out the profitable Lutheran hospitals in 2017.

He dealt with new competition in Fort Wayne from IU Health, which has opened a clinic and announced plans for additional facilities.

In November, Bauer, who went to work for IU Health as a consultant, settled a lawsuit with CHS and Lutheran, which claimed the former CEO breached his contract by defaming the hospital system, sharing confidential information and luring IU Health to the area.

Poore told the Journal Gazette that staff morale has picked up during his tenure, and that nursing turnover has dropped. He is overseeing the construction of a new $120 million Lutheran Downtown hospital in Fort Wayne, which is expected to be completed in late 2021.

Lutheran and Poore did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.