Former county executive Winfield M. Kelly, the new chairman of the nonprofit corporation that operates three major Prince George's health facilities, says he is considering "streamlining" the hospital board in an effort to restructure the organization, which has been riddled with charges of mismanagement and conflict of interest.
Kelly was elected to the number two post in the corporation at a closed meeting late Monday night, a few hours after the 28-member board fired its original chairman, Francis J. Aluisi, who was under attack by county officials.
Kelly, a partner in a cable television company, said after the meeting that he expected he would take "a greater policy-making role" than Aluisi had. He said his primary objective is to restore the public's faith in the hospital system.
Robert J. Brady, the president of the corporation and the ranking board member, said after the meeting that private business responsibilities will now be taking more of his time and causing him to take a less active role in hospital business.
County officials said that Kelly would in effect become the key official in the corporation.
In a statement released yester- day, County Executive Parris Glendening applauded Kelly's appointment, saying, "I am happy to say that Mr. Kelly and I agree that there must be a close working relationship between the corporation and the county government," which owns the three facilities.
Glendening also said he and Kelly agreed that the corporation's meetings and financial records will be open to the public. The corporation board provoked the ire of county officials this spring by refusing to allow county auditors to review their financial records.
The corporation, Community Hospital and Health Care Systems, Inc., runs Prince George's General and Greater Laurel-Beltsville Hospitals and the Bowie Health Center.
Kelly's appointment and Aluisi's ouster were called for last week by county officials, including Glendening, after an internal memo to the board's ethics committee surfaced that questioned the propriety of a trip Aluisi and a female companion took to a Mexican medical school. Aluisi's air fare was paid by a doctor-supported fund. He said repeatedly that he had intended to repay it.
Brady said in a letter made public Monday night that "unfortunately the mere public revelation of the known facts and the significant public outcry from county officials leaves me no alternative as the president . . . other than to request your resignation."
Aluisi, who headed the county's governing body from 1968 to 1970, was named chairman of the corporation board when it was created in 1983 by the County Council.
The council created the independent body in the hopes that the corporation would be a more efficient way to run the hospitals, which had become a drain on the county budget. During the last several months, an internal audit as well as a consultant's study said the three health facilities were poorly run and were having trouble collecting their bills.
Early this month the board contracted with a management firm from Hospital Corp. of America to run the hospitals' daily operations and fired the top executives at the three facilities.
Frustrated by the firings and the board's many controversies, the County Council began discussing a way to dissolve the corporation and yesterday a bill was introduced that would turn control back to the county. Kelly, however, said Monday he had persuaded council members to "give me some breathing time" and delay public hearings on the bill.