Mike Schatzlein, M.D., acquired extensive experience as a physician and senior health system executive in both the nonprofit and investor-owned sectors over a career that spanned four decades. Until 2017 he was Senior Vice President at Ascension, serving as Group Operating Executive (Division President) for Indiana, Tennessee and Jacksonville. His “Louise” Operating Group in 2016 had $5 billion in net operating revenue, and included 34 hospitals organized into three regional integrated delivery systems.

Following Dr. Schatzlein’s retirement from Ascension in 2018, The Schatzlein Group (TSG) has provided advisory services to healthcare companies and investors regarding population health, operating process improvement, physician joint ventures, health data trust platforms and acquisitions. Today he continues to offer pro bono advice, board service, and operating oversight to organizations whose missions align with his vision for health system reform.


Here are some highlights of Dr. Schatzlein’s career as a physician leader and health system leader.


Pioneering transplant surgeon

Established the Northern Indiana Heart Institute in 1984, and performed the first heart transplant there in 1985. The first Jarvik-7 Total Artificial Heart followed in 1987. Lung and heart-lung transplants were next. At one point in time, nine of the world’s 22 longest-living heart transplant patients had received their new hearts under Dr. Schatzlein’s direction. His team also published work expanding the indications for transplantation to older patients and to patients with cured previous cancer.


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Champion for transit in Nashville

As Chair of the Amp Coalition, led Mayor Dean’s effort to educate the community on the need to begin development of mass transit. He was given Nashville’s “Spirit of the Chamber Award” for his transit advocacy.


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Physician leader in managed care

In 1995, built the largest PPO in northern Indiana (LutheranPreferred), and the first and largest specialty PPO in the state (Lutheran Heart Alliance). Created an integrated delivery system with physicians within Lutheran Health to manage populations under capitation successfully in the ‘90s.


[img responsive=”true”]Mike Schatzlein giving speech.[/img]

National leader in population health management

At Saint Thomas in Nashville, created the state’s leading accountable care organization, MissionPoint Health Partners. In 2016, was responsible for 35 Ascension hospitals in three states, organized into three integrated care delivery systems with $5 billion in combined net revenues. MissionPoint became the template for Ascension’s nationwide “Integrated Systems of Care” delivery model, Ascension Care Management.


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Established Nashville campus of University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

Working with Chancellor Steve Schwab, established a complete core teaching campus for the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center at Ascension Saint Thomas in Nashville, with a growing number of residencies, medical students and other healthcare teaching programs.


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Successful transition from physician to administrator

Moved to administration in 1995 and helped Quorum, Triad and CHS take Lutheran Hospital from a standalone hospital to northern Indiana’s largest health system, with eight hospitals and 43,000 annual admissions. Was appointed system CEO there in 2007, and in 2009 assumed operating responsibility for all ten of Community Health System’s Indiana hospitals.


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Community involvement

Has served on numerous boards and board executive committees, including the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Nashville United Way, the Nashville Health Care Council, Nashville’s Agenda and both the Indiana and Tennessee hospital associations. Chaired the United Way of Metro Nashville board of trustees for 2017.


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Leader in medical interoperability

Has served as a health system CIO, and oversaw the implementation of integrated medical records in each health system he led. Founding director and Chairman Emeritus of the Center for Medical Interoperability. Advocate for secure trusted health data platforms.


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Areas of expertise

Dr. Schatzlein is qualified to advise and assist health-related companies (including delivery, suppliers and IT) and investors in several areas.


Population Health

Dr. Schatzlein has been dedicated to improving the care of populations throughout his career.

  • Founded Indiana’s first and largest specialty PPO, the Lutheran Heart Alliance, with 100,000 members.
  • As Lutheran Hospital’s vice president for managed care, built 100,000-member PPO LutheranPreferred, then formed the IPA that works today with Lutheran Health in Medpartners, a population health platform. In the ’90s, Medpartners profitably managed 30,000 capitated lives for several HMOs.
  • In Nashville with Ascension, launched MissionPoint Health Partners, an accountable care organization that successfully participated in the Medicare Shared Savings and follow-on programs, and was the only successful initial network on the ACA Exchange for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. MissionPoint expanded beyond Tennessee to become Ascension’s national model for person-centered value-based systems of care, Ascension Care Management.

Physician Joint Ventures

  • At Quorum and Triad, was instrumental in syndicating six whole hospitals in Indiana.
  • In 1999, launched a de novo “greenfield” hospital project and led it from conception through an expansion just three years after opening. That hospital, in which physicians owned 16 percent, achieved more than twice the industry average EBITDA margin and became a “100 Top Hospital” by its tenth year of operation.
  • Has developed and operated numerous joint venture surgery, urgent care and imaging center operations. The imaging joint venture he created in Tennessee is the largest in the state.

Process Improvement

Dr. Schatzlein has been dedicated to clinical process improvement throughout his career. He was introduced to the work of W. Edwards Deming in graduate school and immediately recognized the applicability of these specific tools to process improvement in healthcare.

  • As a surgical resident, standardized the cardiovascular surgery clinical pathways at the Indiana University Medical Center and the University of Michigan Medical Center. He repeated this both on his arrival at Lutheran Hospital of Indiana and at a new surgical program he started at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne.
  • The heart and lung transplant programs at Lutheran relied on standardized processes to achieve excellent results while expanding the boundaries of transplant medicine. Dr. Schatzlein’s group published seminal papers on outcomes using older donor hearts in older recipients, and on results of offering transplantation to patients who had been cured of malignancy.
  • Health systems Dr. Schatzlein led in northern Indiana, all of Indiana, Tennessee and Jacksonville all experienced significant improvements in outcomes and operating performance through the engagement of physicians and nurses in clinical process standardization and improvement.


With his background as a clinician and senior administrator, and his involvement in the Nashville Health Care Council, along with his work for various private equity firms, Dr. Schatzlein has evaluated numerous investment opportunities in healthcare and healthcare IT.

  • As Senior VP for Network Development, worked with Quorum and Triad acquisitions teams to grow Lutheran Hospital into eight-hospital Lutheran Health in northeastern Indiana and two-hospital Porter Health in the northwest. All of the acquisitions were of not-for-profit hospitals, with Dr. Schatzlein facilitating the relationships and negotiations with the local boards.
  • After consolidating Saint Thomas’s five hospitals under a single structure and operating model, acquired four hospitals from Capella to round out Saint Thomas’ population health coverage.
  • From his experiences with the acquisitions of Quorum by Triad and Triad by CHS, has a deep understanding of the issues surrounding integration of acquisitions, standardization of systems, and cultural challenges.


Clinical process improvement is greatly impeded by the lack of interoperability among electronic medical records and medical devices. Dr. Schatzlein committed Ascension at the inception of the Center for Medical Operability (www.medicalinteroperability.org) and became a founding board member. He served as the Center’s board chair in 2016-17 and is now Chairman Emeritus.


To reach Dr. Schatzlein, email mike@schatzlein.com.