Chesterton Tribune



New Porter hospital CEO stakes out position on assessment at Chamber

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It wasn’t exactly a tough room, when Porter Regional Hospital (PRH) new CEO, Stephen Lunn, addressed the Duneland Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday at its monthly luncheon.

Lunn’s a personable chap, in a down-home kind of way, and Chamber members were glad, probably eager, to welcome the new guy warmly.

But there was the one question, put to Lunn from the floor at the end of his remarks. It went something like this: What about the abatement?

Lunn never answered it, not that question, at any rate. He answered one instead which nobody asked, something about the hospital’s assessment.

If your business property were being assessed at an amount four times greater than your competitor’s, “would you be happy about it?” Lunn asked the Chamber’s members. If the actual value of your property were not being assessed but instead the income which is being generated on or in or by the property, “would you be happy about it?”

“People are trying to stir stuff up,” Lunn suggested. “It’s election time.”

“The hospital is committed to paying what’s fair and equitable,” Lunn concluded. “But we don’t think that assessment is fair and equitable.”

Lunn--whose first day on the job was March 24--comes to PRH from Community Health System Inc.’s Heartland Regional Medical Center in Marion, Ill, where he was honored by CHS with its corporate 2012 CEO Excellence in Leadership Award. Prior to Heartland Regional, Lunn was CEO of Moberly Regional Medical Center in Missouri and CEO of Parkway Regional Hospital in Kentucky, both of them CHS holdings.

Lunn opened his remarks with a bit of personal background. He’s a Tennessee boy whose career in computer science got scotched by the IT crash. He returned to school, got his MBA, and hired into CHS, where he learned that he has “a passion for healthcare.”

“I just like helping people,” Lunn said, “knowing that what I do is helping people.”

Lunn spoke at some length about the specialties on which PRH is “building its reputation”--cardiovascular, orthopedic, and emergency medicine as well as cancer care--and in fact covered much of the same ground discussed by former CEO Jonathan Nalli when he addressed the Chamber almost exactly a year ago.

Lunn also spoke about PRH’s lower-than-the-national-average readmission rates for pneumonia, heart attack, and hospital-wide; about minimally invasive hip replacements, low-dose CT scanners, and wide-bore MRIs; about PRH’s 30-minute ER pledge; and about the extraordinary longevity of PRH’s staff, 40 percent of whom have worked for the hospital for more than 10 years.

Lunn made it clear, though, that number-crunching and technology only go so far when trying to define quality healthcare. This is Lunn’s idea of it: “quality is what it means to my family, to the people I know and care about. I have a very direct way of talking about quality.”

“I have a very high stress job,” Lunn joked. “I’m going to have a heart attack. And when I do I’m going to Porter.”



Posted 4/24/2014