3 more Maryland medical board members resign amid scandal

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Three members of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board resigned, the system announced Tuesday, in the ongoing aftermath of a scandal involving financial arrangements that recently led Baltimore’s mayor to resign.

The medical system announced that board chairman Stephen Burch is resigning effective July 1. Kevin O’Connor also resigned effective July 1. Dr. Scott Rifkin’s resignation is effective immediately.

Rifkin’s company, Real Time Medical Systems and UMMS, have an “active agreement in which the company provides software for a pilot program designed to reduce hospital readmissions,” the medical system said in a statement.

“Dr. Rifkin’s resignation advances the effort to prevent conflicts and increase transparency,” the medical system said.

Robert Chrencik, who was the president and CEO of the medical system, resigned last month. He had led the system since 2008 before being sent on a leave of absence in late March when The Baltimore Sun first reported on questionable financial arrangements involving board members, including Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who was a board member.

Pugh resigned as mayor last week amid investigations into whether she sold self-published children’s books to disguise hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks. She’s called her book deal with the medical system a “regrettable mistake.” The FBI and IRS agents raided Pugh’s homes and City Hall offices last month. Pugh has not been charged with a crime.

Roughly one-third of more than two dozen of the system’s board members received compensation through the medical system’s arrangements with their businesses. The contract with Rifkin’s company had not been previously been reported.

Gov. Larry Hogan signed emergency legislation last month to overhaul the network’s board of directors, which oversees a university-based regional health care system. It has about 28,000 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians in more than 150 locations and at 13 hospitals. The new law bars board members from getting contracts without a bidding process and prohibits board members from leveraging their position on the board for personal gain.

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