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Last updated: Fri. Aug. 08, 2014 - 04:56 am EDT

Lutheran Health Network to add 320 jobs

Shared Services Center moves to bigger southwest site

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A $6 million investment for its Shared Services Center to move into a southwest Fort Wayne office park will give Lutheran Health Network employees more breathing room.

And create up to 320 jobs by 2017.

“They're excited and they should be,” Lutheran CEO Brian Bauer said, referring to the 65,000-square-foot space being renovated to accommodate about 500 workers on one floor. “We're getting cramped, and this is a great facility and location.”

Lutheran is making a transition for its workers from a 36,000-square-foot Waynedale location at Airport Expressway and Bluffton Road to 1700 Magnavox Way.

Officials expect to complete the move in the fall.

Bauer made the announcement Thursday in front of a crowd of more than 100 workers, business leaders and politicians.

Gov. Mike Pence said the investment continues to show that Indiana is open for business.

“By creating great jobs like this in Indiana, Lutheran Health Network is helping to nurse Indiana's economy to even stronger health,” he said. “Indiana is already a life sciences leader.”

The new jobs are business-support positions. The median salary is $15 to $17 an hour. The Shared Services Center is accepting applications.

The Shared Services Center already has more than 175 employees who process medical insurance claims, billing, appeals, insurance collection and customer service for network hospitals and others in the region.

Bauer said when it became clear that Lutheran had outgrown its present services center site, it struck a 10-year lease deal with developer Bill Bean to move inside an office park just south of Illinois Road and east of Interstate 69.

Tenants in the building, which spans nearly 350,000 square feet, include General Dynamics, Ash Brokerage and Brigadoon Fitness.

Bean said he is obviously pleased with Lutheran's decision.

“This is a great fit for everyone, and we were able to get a (premier) tenant on board,” Bean said.

Mayor Tom Henry said while it is good to hear about employment projections, actual jobs “trump everything.” Henry added Lutheran's commitment is a strong vote of confidence in Fort Wayne.

Parkview Health also has seen a rise in its number of business-support employees, adding more than 100 workers over the last four years, spokesman Eric Clabaugh said. He said the hospital system has 514 employees in this area, adding that the Affordable Care Act has played a factor in the growth.

Lutheran spokesman Geoff Thomas said the Shared Services Center serves nine hospitals and expects to nearly double that number by the end of the year. In the next two years, the center anticipates serving more than a dozen additional hospitals, he said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Shared Services up to $3.25 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company's job creation plans. Northeast Indiana Works is providing $78,380 toward in-kind employment services and on-the-job training.

The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional incentives at the request of Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

“Indiana is a great place to live, work and play, making it an ideal place to grow business and for employees to call home,” Bauer said.

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