Three members of the University of Maryland Medical System board resigned Tuesday, including chair Stephen A. Burch, the latest development in a self-dealing scandal that has engulfed the hospital system and led to the resignation last week of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D).
Burch’s and board member Kevin O’Connor’s resignations are effective July 1; board member Scott Rifkin resigned effective immediately, the hospital system said in a news release.
The Baltimore Sun first reported in March that several UMMS board members, including Pugh, had business deals with the system they oversaw, which were in some cases worth millions of dollars. Pugh, who was also on the board, gave up that seat weeks ago; several other board members have also resigned or are on leave.
Interim chief executive John Ashworth said Rifkin’s resignation was part of the system’s “effort to prevent conflicts and increase transparency.” Rifkin provided software for the hospital system from his company, Real Time Medical Systems. He said he offered the software free and considered it a donation to the hospital system.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he has been “very clear that the hospital system has a lot of work to do to restore public trust.”
“This is another important step in that process,” Hogan said of the resignations.
The Maryland General Assembly passed legislation this year that would dissolve the UMMS board in several stages, require members to reapply, and bar members from holding single-source contracts with the system.
Ashworth thanked Burch, O’Connor and Rifkin in a statement, saying they brought “invaluable experience and perspective to the Board.”
Robert A. Chrencik, the president and chief executive of UMMS, resigned last month — one day after federal agents searched Baltimore City Hall and Pugh’s home in a highly visible indication of a federal criminal case over lucrative book deals Pugh made with private businesses, including UMMS.