Lutheran Health Network and Heart Center Medical Group Become Fully Integrated

Multispecialty practice is first component of newly formed Lutheran Medical Group

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (May 6, 2009) — Officials from Lutheran Health Network announced today an innovative step forward in the delivery of healthcare in the region with the formation of Lutheran Medical Group, a new physician integration model that is an alternative to the traditional employed physician model. Effective immediately, Lutheran Medical Group is the newest member of the Lutheran Health Network. Heart Center Medical Group and Lutheran Health Network have also entered into a negotiated agreement in which the multispecialty practice will officially become the first component of Lutheran Medical Group.

HCMG's name is synonymous with unsurpassed care in the field of cardiology, but physicians, nurses and technicians from Heart Center Medical Group excel in eight other specialties including allergy, electrophysiology, gastroenterology, hospitalist, infectious disease, internal medicine, pulmonology and rheumatology.

Neighbors for more than 30 years, both organizations have now formalized an ongoing relationship and are primed to continue their common vision of providing the highest level of patient care, innovation and leadership in local medicine.

"This is great opportunity for both Lutheran Health Network and Heart Center Medical Group to enhance the total patient experience by streamlining the delivery of care," said Joel Sauer, chief executive officer, Heart Center Medical Group. "An organization that is patient-focused, well-run and efficient will thrive. Furthermore, organizations that are capable of curbing fragmentation and redundancies will be better positioned to address the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

Through Lutheran Medical Group, LHN and HCMG will link the specific areas of expertise each entity brings to the table. The goal of Lutheran Medical Group is to improve patient care by working diligently to remove barriers to access, creating a seamless flow of patient information throughout the entire spectrum of care, eliminating waste and duplication of services, and ensuring the patient gets the right care at the right time.

"The healthcare organization of the future will rely on more physician influence and better interfaces between inpatient and outpatient care," said Mike Schatzlein, chief executive officer, Lutheran Health Network. "We believe in this unique model since it best aligns our organizations. What makes this possible is a sincere and total commitment from everyone to work in the best interest of our patients."

Heart Center Medical Group, based on the Lutheran Hospital campus, consists of 243 employees and 55 physicians and has offices at 10 different regional locations.

"Great hospitals rely on the support and involvement of dedicated physicians who place quality and patient care above all else," said Joe Dorko, chief executive officer, Lutheran Hospital. "The physicians and staff of Heart Center Medical Group are one of the reasons why we have been able to position ourselves as the region's tertiary care hospital." Dorko and Schatzlein will serve with physicians on LMG's board.

LHN and HCMG officials believe patients who are already familiar with the two organizations will view the integration as seamless. For patients who have not previously accessed the services available through one or both organizations, Lutheran Medical Group will offer expanded opportunities to access specialized care.

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