Op-Ed: LHN remains steadfast in service to Northern Indiana

Mark Medley
Mark Medley is the CHS Regional President and CEO of Lutheran Health Network. Courtesy photo.

An Op-Ed from Mark Medley, CHS Regional President and CEO of Lutheran Health Network titled: Lutheran Health Network Remains Steadfast in Service to Northern Indiana.

Op-Ed: Lutheran Health Network Remains Steadfast in Service to Northern Indiana

Fort Wayne, Indiana (May 25, 2021) – I write today with hope for the future and gratitude for the resilience of our employee and provider teams across Lutheran Health Network. The pandemic has demonstrated how interconnected we all are, the impact each one of us can have and the benefit of working together for a common cause. We care deeply about our community and remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver safe, quality healthcare services.

The arc of life is always present in a hospital, but it’s frailty has been very clear this past year. The same could be said of urgent care centers, physician clinics and other access points across Lutheran Health Network. Tens of thousands of patients received the medical care they needed thanks to our physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, lab techs, Environmental Services and Maintenance teams, food service workers and many others who have worked tirelessly to maintain a safe environment. Our family of caregivers put aside their personal fears and concerns and came to help every single day, with bravery and courage.

More than 3,900 babies took their first breaths and we celebrated with their moms, dads and families. With more than 1.4 million patient encounters, we continue to improve quality of life in so many ways, including less pain following a joint replacement, a heart beating in rhythm after receiving a pacemaker or transplant – or a smile of relief when a screening mammogram or colonoscopy result was clear.
We’ve had the privilege of caring for more than 7,000 COVID-19 positive patients. With pride and relief, we cheered for many patients who left for home after beating COVID-19 and other illnesses. There have also been times of sadness, as our caregivers helped patients transition at the end of life and comforted the loved ones who grieve for their loss.

Helping people get well and live healthier is rewarding work, and we are grateful for the trust every patient places in us. We feel the support of the community as you’ve extended your thanks and encouragement through prayers, first responder parades, signs, cards, meals and so much more.

Led by dedicated administrators, community leader advisory boards and physicians, we are putting our resources toward increased medical services, facilities and technologies that are important to our patients, including adding cardiac catheterization labs (Dupont Hospital and Kosciusko Community Hospital), building a medically integrated health & fitness center on the Dupont Hospital campus, preparing to open Lutheran Downtown Hospital and expanding access to behavioral health services. Access has also been expanded with new clinic openings and the recruitment of 58 providers in 2020. Many of our providers are now offering telehealth services (conducting more than 53,000 telehealth visits in 2020), making it easier than ever to see a provider from the comfort of home.

We value our relationships across northern Indiana. As one of the area’s largest taxpayers, the more than $19 million in taxes we paid last year support critical infrastructure such as first responders, schools and roads. In 2016, we committed to $500 million in capital investments throughout our region (this money funds things like new technology, structural improvements and new buildings). Between 2017 and 2020, we’ve made more than $493 million in capital investments, including the $120 million investment in Lutheran Downtown Hospital. I’m pleased to report that we have surpassed our $500 million commitment with several more million committed this year and in the pipeline. Wages and benefits for our employees and providers generate buying power for local goods and services and help drive the local economy. We also deliver care for our most vulnerable residents, providing more than $170 million in charity and uncompensated care in 2020. View the LHN 2020 Community Impact Report.

Hope is on the horizon as COVID-19 vaccinations are underway and we look forward to a time when we can all gather. Until then, keep up the safe practices – wear a mask or face covering, maintain social distancing and regularly wash your hands. By following these simple acts we can do extraordinary things.

Mark Medley is the CHS Regional President and Chief Executive Officer, Lutheran Health Network.

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