UTMB releases records on president's abrupt exit

The University of Texas System has released some records pertaining to the abrupt departure of Ben Raimer, MD, from the role of president of the University of Texas Medical Branch. The documents, some heavily redacted, leave important questions unanswered.

Dr. Raimer submitted his resignation as head of the Galveston-based academic health system Aug. 22, two weeks after he was placed on administrative leave for undisclosed reasons. UTMB did not disclose the reason for his departure. 

The UT System released records Sept. 7 in response to a request filed Aug. 9 by Galveston, Texas-based The Daily News under the Texas Public Information Act for all documents related to the decision to place Dr. Raimer on administrative leave. Earlier this month, the system said it would release some documents under the request. It appealed the request to the Texas Attorney General's Office for permission to withhold others.

The newspaper reported that the documents it reviewed reveal "some general discontent" with management of UTMB, but reasons behind the decision to place Dr. Raimer on administrative leave are still less than clear. 

An Aug. 8 letter from UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken informing Dr. Raimer of his placement on administrative leave with pay notes that Dr. Raimer was aware of an investigation into allegations about him. Information in the letter about what the investigation was in response to is redacted. (Keri Heath, a reporter with The Daily News, tweeted an image of the letter and its redactions here.)

Other emails released by the system to the local newspaper include allegations from medical branch staff and students of cronyism among management and disregard for students' concerns about the connection between a group of honors societies at UTMB and the problematic views held by its historical namesake, William Osler. 

"Most of the allegations are non-specific and/or relate to complaints about management issues or policy decisions rather than allegations of compliance violations," UT System Chief Inquiry Officer and Chief Research Security Officer Trey Atchley wrote in a July 27 email with the system's chancellor, according to The Daily News.

Charles Mouton, MD, executive vice president, provost and dean of the UTMB John Sealy School of Medicine, is serving as interim president while the system conducts a national search for a new leader. UTMB includes four hospital campuses and more than 90 primary and specialty care clinics in Southeast Texas.

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