Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan signed a bill yesterday that creates a nonprofit corporation to lease and operate the county's hospitals, but he said he remains unconvinced of the wisdom of the plan.
The proposal, which Hogan earlier called "a disaster," creates a corporation headed by county residents that will manage the three facilities--Prince George's General and Greater Laurel-Beltsville hospitals and the Bowie Health Center. The county will pay for services to the poor but will have no control over management.
Hogan has consistently opposed the plan, saying it entrusts a $60 million system to an inexperienced group with no money. But he said in a letter to Council Chairman Gerard McDonough yesterday that he felt a veto would not be sustained.
For three years Hogan pushed a plan to lease the hospitals to the private, profit-making Hospital Corporation of America, but the council rejected that lease last fall and developed the proposal signed yesterday.
Hogan called the council's plan, which effectively replaces the Department of Hospitals and Health Services, "clearly in contravention of County Charter," saying only the executive can initiate such an effort. But he signed an executive order that will abolish that agency when the new lease takes effect.