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A Hospital Breakthrough?

Rosalind Helderman

In comments today, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) sounded more conciliatory about the company that runs the county's hospital system than he has in months.

Johnson and the board of directors of the not-for-profit Dimensions Healthcare have been feuding since June, when the county executive said he would release no county funds to the financially troubled hospitals until four members stepped down.

The board resisted the demand and instead sued the county for funding, which executives said was necessary to keep the doors open. But, over time, as the legal battle has dragged, three of those four board members have departed.

First, board member Don Foran left to go spend time helping his son with a budding Ultimate Fighting career. Then the term of Dr. Lynne Gaines, who served as a representative of the Laurel Medical Staff, came to a natural end. She was replaced by another Laurel staffer, Dr. Gita Shah. And, last week, other board members declined to reelect Board Chairman Calvin Brown. Brown's seat on the board was filled by state Del. Barbara Frush. William Williams, a retired federal worker, was made board chairman. Brown, an eight-year member of the board, had clashed repeatedly with Johnson.

Johnson's demand was about more than just personalities. He had wanted a restructuring of the board to change up how members are chosen and how many members have ties to Dimensions. Still, he said today that he thinks the changes in the board were "a good first step."

He mentioned the still pending Dimensions lawsuit as an impediment to releasing new funds but said he was willing to talk. "I'm hoping I can work with [Williams] and he can work with me," Johnson said.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  September 20, 2007; 2:30 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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