Audit finds U of Maryland Medical Center paid $115M to 27 board members, their companies

In recent years University of Maryland Medical Systems made nearly $115 million in payments to more than two dozen board members and their related businesses, a new state audit cited by The Baltimore Sun revealed. 

The state's Office of Legislative Audits conducted the audit after a corruption scandal shook the Baltimore-based hospital network last year.

In March 2019, reports surfaced that there were widespread conflicts of interest among the board members. Last year, a Baltimore Sun investigation found that at least a third of the 30-member board had personally profited from business deals with the health system, including former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

The new review of  medical systems finances uncovered even more financial dealings between the hospital's board members and the organizations they are financially tied to, according to The Sun.

The review found that $114.9 million in payments were made by the medical systems to 27 board members or their associated businesses between January 1, 2016 and April 18, 2019.

"Approximately 94 percent [$108.2 million] of these payments were made either directly to a board member or to an entity with which the board member had a direct financial relationship," the auditors said, according to the report. 

The auditors, which didn't disclose board members' names or the businesses involved, said they could not definitively determine whether any transactions were "improper."

Medical systems officials argued that some aspects of the review were misleading, as auditors counted many legitimate transactions as conflicts, including dues the network pays to a state hospital association.

After the scandal erupted last year, UMMS named interim board leadership and appointed 11 new members.

"As evidenced over the last nine months, the reconstituted UMMS board and new management team have been fully committed to addressing the well-documented historical failings and ensuring the continued adoption of governance best practices," new UMMS chief of staff Kristin Jones Bryce told The Sun. "The system remains focused on its mission of providing world-class healthcare and will continue to lead during this global pandemic."

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