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IU Health is getting into the Fort Wayne market. Photo: IU Health

The News-Sentinel in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is reporting Indiana University Health, the dominant not-for-profit health system in the state, is expanding into the city. Brian Bauer — the former CEO of Lutheran Health Network in Fort Wayne who was fired by Lutheran's for-profit parent, Community Health Systems — will lead the IU Health region.

Why it matters: This is not just a small regional deal in Indiana. CHS is on the brink of collapse. And now Lutheran, one of CHS' most profitable hospital systems, faces a powerful competitor that likely will nab Lutheran's patients as well as doctors, nurses and other employees.

Inside Fort Wayne: Two sources familiar with Lutheran told me the environment is "toxic" and "adversarial." Lutheran already has lost employees to a separate nearby system, Parkview Health, the sources said. They also said Lutheran's profitability has dwindled this year. IU Health did not respond to inquiries.

  • IU Health plans to build hospitals and outpatient centers in the Fort Wayne area, and that would be a giant blow to Lutheran, which many Wall Street analysts say is the "crown jewel" of CHS. One source said Lutheran's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization last year were around $280 million.
  • That will make it even tougher for CHS to pay down its mountain of debt if profits get sucked out of its most lucrative region.
  • CHS, which is in the process of selling off hospitals, turned down a buyout offer of Lutheran last year.

What to watch: CHS will report third-quarter earnings after markets close Nov. 1, and the investor call will be the following morning.

Go deeper

Australia opposes UN report warning Great Barrier Reef is "in danger"

A green sea turtle swimming among the corals at Lady Elliot island, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Great Barrier Reef should be included in a list of World Heritage Sites that are "in danger" from climate change, a United Nations committee said in a report Tuesday.

Yes, but: Australia's government said it will "strongly oppose" the recommendation by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Abolishing filibuster would weaken "democracy's guardrails"

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at the U.S. Capitol building earlier this month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) defended her opposition to abolishing the 60-vote legislative filibuster in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday night, saying to do so would weaken "democracy's guardrails."

Why it matters: There have been growing calls from Democrats, particularly progressives, to overhaul the rules as the Senate prepares to vote Tuesday on Democrats' massive voting rights package. But Sinema writes in her op-ed that if this were to happen "we will lose much more than we gain."

Court blocks California assault weapons ban repeal

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A federal appeals court on Monday blocked a judge's ruling that overturned California's 30-year assault weapons ban.

Driving the news: U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez ruled earlier this month that the ban was unconstitutional and likened the AR-15 to a Swiss Army knife, but the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now granted a stay, pending appeal.