Two groups of District doctors and medical professionals have charged that Mayor Walter E. Washington's committee on reorganization of the department of human resources excludes health consumers and city residents.
Telegrams protesting the panel's composition were sent to the mayor last month by the D.C. Medico-Chirurgical Society, a largely black physicians' organization, and the D.C. Coalition of Health Advocates, whose members are nurses, pharmacists and doctors.
The mayor appointed the 42-member panel to study DHR in January, and named as its chairman Philip J. Rutledge, who helped design and first headed the huge department.
"We think the thing was stacked in order to maintain the status quo," the coalition president, Dr. Jesse Barber, said. Barber said his group thinks the panel has "too few blacks, too few people from the District of Columbia and almost no consumers."
The panel members are mostly professors, past and present public officials and managers in the health and welfare field from around the country who were recommended to the mayor by Rutledge. Their purpose is to study the human resources agencies in 27 states and recommend a design for the District.
"The Committee is excellent to carry out the goal of making a broad study in this field," the mayor said through a spokesman. Washington said the panel will take "position papers" from local groups. They will also have the chance to comment on the resultant proposals before he submits them to the City Council, the mayor said.
The two groups, which expressed nearly identical concerns in their telegrams, have long favored severing the entire health care services from the rest of DHR, spokesmen said. They said they are concerned that the mayor's panel will not make such a recommendation.
The medical groups also objected to the choice of Rutledge to head the panel, and its expected costs for the project.
"We once had health and welfare separate, and the architect of their merger was Rutledge. It seems incongrous to us that the person who was the designer of consolidation would be a task force chairman for reorganization," said the Medico-Chirurgical society president, Dr. Tracy M. Walton Jr.
The cost for a panel of outsiders "will undoubtably be considerably greater than those of a group of District residents and voters " the Coalition's telegram said.
The panel has submitted a budget of about $85,000, which is being reviewed by the city budget office, the mayor's spokesman said.
The doctors' groups said they have received no response from the mayor on their telegrams.