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At a glance
Lutheran Health Network
Based: Fort Wayne
Hospitals: 8
Licensed beds: Almost 1,000
Employees: More than 7,000

Dorko leaving Lutheran

CEO takes job with parent company’s advisory arm


Joe Dorko is climbing the corporate ladder.

Lutheran Health Network announced late Friday afternoon that its CEO will leave to become a special projects CEO for Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp. in mid-July.

The organization provides hospital management, consulting and advisory services to independent community hospitals and health systems.

Dorko, 55, will work on strategic and operational initiatives for 29 affiliated hospitals. His family plans to remain in Fort Wayne for the foreseeable future as Dorko begins traveling extensively for his new assignment.

Like Lutheran Health Network, Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp., based in Franklin, Tenn., is a subsidiary of Community Health Systems Inc.

Community Health Systems is one of the nation’s largest operators of acute-care hospitals. The organization’s affiliates own, operate or lease more than 135 hospitals in 29 states, for a total of about 20,000 licensed beds.

Lutheran Health spokesman Geoff Thomas said it’s too soon to tell whether Dorko will continue serving on several local nonprofit boards.

Dorko’s current and recent board memberships include the Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana, the University of Saint Francis, United Way of Allen County, the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.

John Sampson, the Regional Partnership’s president, assumed Friday that Dorko will have to scale back his local involvement.

“I’m happy for Joe, but we’re going to miss his leadership,” Sampson said. “I knew he cares deeply for this community.”

Dorko, who runs half-marathons, has challenged Regional Partnership leaders and expanded their thinking, Sampson said. Lutheran Hospital CEO Brian Bauer will replace Dorko on an interim basis. Bauer, 32, will continue in his current position during the transition.

Dorko, who was named the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce’s CEO of the Year in 2011, became Lutheran Health’s CEO in 2010. He succeeded Mike Schatzlein, who left for a position outside the parent company.

Dorko joined Lutheran Hospital in 1999 as chief operating officer. Under his watch, Lutheran Health made several significant investments, including building Lutheran Heart Pavilion and Lutheran Orthopedic Hospital and adding a fifth floor to Lutheran Hospital.