The name of the chairman of the board of Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital was incorrectly reported in a Metro section article yesterday. Dr. Michael Peskin is the head of the board.
The corporation that operates three Prince George's County health facilities voted last night to begin competitive negotiations with two hospital management firms to assume direction of those facilities.
Selection of one of the firms is expected later this week.
The corporation, Community Hospital and Health Care Systems Inc., would not say which management firms will be involved in the negotiations. It had held preliminary talks for about a week with three firms -- Hospital Corporation of America, Republic Health Corp. and Brim and Associates.
The corporation's move came after critical reports by a corporation committee and a consultant that said the facilities -- Prince George's General Hospital, Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital and Bowie Health Center -- are mismanaged.
The reports blamed the corporation's financial woes on its board of directors' lack of experience in running hospitals. The corporation is a private, nonprofit organization made up of community leaders created by the County Council in 1982 to operate the three facilities.
Corporation spokesman Michael Canning said last night that a majority of the 24 board members voted in favor of pursuing negotiations. Canning said the vote is "further demonstration that the board has accepted its full responsibility to make the necessary decisions to deliver quality health care."
As the board has been preparing to make its final decision, other controversies have been brewing.
Last Wednesday, in preparation for the arrival of new managers, Frank Aluisi, chairman of the corporation's board, asked the chief executive officers of the three facilities to submit letters of resignation that would be accepted or rejected by the management firm.
Canning said all three firms in the running for the management contract until last night had indicated they wanted the option of putting their own people in key management positions. If it is decided "that their sevices are not needed, they the current CEOs will be generously compensated," he said.
Last night, hospital sources said Raleigh Cline, the CEO at Prince George's General, submitted his resignation last week.
Dennis McDowell, CEO at the Bowie Health Center said yesterday that he has not signed anything. He said Aluisi showed him a resignation document but did not permit him to take it for review by a lawyer. "There's quite an insinuation that the new company is not going to take up the options on the existing [CEOs]," said McDowell.
County Council member Anthony Cicoria said yesterday that the possible firings were the "last straw" with the hospital troubles.
At the council's meeting today, Cicoria and member Frank Casula plan to introduce a bill that would revoke the corporation's lease with the county and dissolve its board of directors.
"I think we need to start all over again," Cicoria said. He said that mismanagement has become such a problem that "doctors are telling me they are refusing to send their patients to Prince George's or Laurel" hospitals.
Casula said he believes "the county should have the controlling hand." He said he does not believe a new management firm will make much difference "because it will still be under the influence of the board."
Some Laurel residents also apparently are unhappy with the hospital situation. Fred Frederick, who heads the local board at Laurel Hospital, said a letter containing more than 100 signatures was mailed yesterday to County Executive Parris Glendening and the mayor of Laurel asking that the lease between the corporation and the county be revoked.
Frederick, who was fired from the corporation's board of directors earlier this year, said Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospital should become a separate entity and not be drained financially by the larger Prince George's General.