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Don't let problems with the UMMS board let us forget the system's benefits

University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) officials Kristin Jones Bryce, VP for External Affairs, John W. Ashworth III, Interim President and CEO and Donna L. Jacobs, Senior VP for Government and Regulatory Affairs speak to the House Health and Government Affairs committee Saturday in Annapolis. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun Video)

In recent weeks, a negative light has been cast on the University of Maryland Medical System as a result of the improprieties surrounding the awarding of contracts to certain members of its board of directors (“General Assembly passes reform bill after University of Maryland Medical System, 'Healthy Holly' scandal,” Apr. 8). While I agree that a curtain has been raised on an issue that needs to be studied and addressed, I urge all stakeholders to take the time to carefully consider what safeguards need to be put into place while also weighing the critical role UMMS plays in our community and how its mission and vision is a beacon in today’s health care environment.

As someone who has not only volunteered their professional time and energy to UMMS over the past 40 years, but also has personal experience as a patient, I know firsthand the critically important role the medical system plays in the Baltimore region and throughout the state. It serves a less fortunate population, it has one of the best trauma centers in the world, its medical staff is extraordinary, and it employs thousands of people who are intimately involved in the daily operations of the hospital.

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None of the hard-working people at UMMS deserve to be negatively impacted because some selfish, misguided individuals decided to take advantage of the system by lining their pockets. It’s important that we not judge the system in its entirety for the actions of a few who took advantage of their position.

Anthony “Tony” Hawkins

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