A clinic within the hospital that employs the head of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission by the WSSC as the medical clinic for its employees and job applicants.
In a recent vote, the commissioners decided to close the WSSC's own small clinic and require all job applicants to report to the Malin Medical Group at Eugene Leland Memorial for physical examinations.
Johanna Norris, who took over as chairwoman of the commission in June, has been employed for nine years at Leland Memorial as a part-time supervisor of the medical and surgical floor. She said yesterday that she abstained from voting on the issue when it came before the WSSC members.
A notice was posted on employee bulletin boards this week saying, "Any employee who sustains a job-related injury or illness and who would normally have been transported to the WSSC medical clinic should be transported to the Malin Medical Group."
Herbert W. Jacobsen, the WSSC manager who devised the plan to close the clinic and transfer its services to the Malin group, said yesterday that problems without obtaining malpractice insurance, coupled with the Riverdale hospital's proximity to the main commission buildings in Hyattsville, prompted the change.
"We're not saying you have to go to Malin. You can go to any doctor or hospital you want," added Jacobsen, who is manager of claims and insurance for the powerful bicounty water and sewer agency.
Jacobsen added that no formal contract has been signed between the hospital and the WSSC, but that there is a "verbal agreement" for the commission to pay about $25 for each physical exam given to job applicants or new employees.
Both Jacobsen and Mrs. Norris said yesterday that Mrs. Norris did not hear of the proposal to use the Malin group until after Jacobsen had finished formulating his proposal for the switch.
For the last several years, the three-person WSSC clinic operated out of the first floor of the agency's main offices in Hyattsville.Employees in other major commission buildings in the area had to come to the main office for medical treatment, Jacobsen said.
The switch, he said, "will afford all employees the same type of protection." Leland is closer to most of the WSSC facilities than any other hospital, although the agency does have offices in such widely scattered locations as Gaithersburg and Temple Hills, and inspectors and work crews can be working anywhere in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
The posted notice to employees, signed by outgoing general manager Robert McLeod, said that "those employees who sustain an injury on the job in one of the outlying offices should continue to be treated initially at the medical facility closest to the job site with eventual follow-up treatment to be conducted at Malin"
Because of the holiday yesterday, no records of the commission vote and discussion on the clinic switch and the supporting memoranda could be obtained.
Dr. Jorge Monasterio, who had worked for the agency clinic on a part-time basis, said that although he was not pleased that he had not been consulted about the impending change, he felt the choice of the Malin clinic was logical.
Jacobsen noted that a large number of private firms also refer their employees to the Malin group on a similar basis.
The WSSC has been the focus of several news stories recently dealing with the agency's signing retiring executives to lucrative consulting contracts immediately upon retirement.