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UMMS board is too big

Recent events concerning the questionable dealings of The University of Maryland Medical System Board of Directors, which have been frequently reported on by The Sun, are almost but not quite beyond belief (“Bob Pevenstein, who resigned from UMMS board amid self-dealing scandal, also resigns from Board of Regents,” May 13).

It would appear that self-dealing and other dubious practices were almost daily activities. The board was charged with the responsibility and authority to manage a tax-payer funded educational and health care providing state institution, but facts now emerging seem to indicate gross failure on the part of the board. One of the chief problems with this board is its size and the fact that many of its members are political appointees with no real knowledge of medical administration. Being composed of 30 members, one half probably doesn’t even know the other half.

Most of the members probably owe their appointments to political connections or friendships with individuals in high places. A board composed of 30 human beings cannot manage any endeavor efficiently. This board should be totally dismissed by the governor and/or the legislature, or whoever has the authority to do so. Then it should be newly reappointed. It should number no more than nine or 11 members and be constituted of a few senior administrative physicians, a few hospital administrators, a few attorneys well-versed in medical law, a few highly regarded financial advisers and a few good citizens of common sense. The appointees should serve no longer than five years and be composed of both male and female members of talent.

Besides the rules by which the board agrees to govern its actions, two strict rules should be applied. All contracts for services to the medical system by the board should be awarded only after competitive bidding for such services, and no member of the board should be associated in any way directly or indirectly with the company awarded a contract.

John C. Ulrich,Timonium

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