Texas health system fights request for records on president's abrupt exit

The University of Texas System is fighting a request filed by a local newspaper to obtain more information about the abrupt resignation of Ben Raimer, MD, from the role of president of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

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. 

When Dr. Raimer was placed on administrative leave Aug. 8, the system only said the move was not "in any way connected to the operations at UTMB or the Galveston National Lab." The lab has drawn scrutiny over agreements with three Chinese research labs, including the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Now the system is fighting Texas' oldest newspaper in its pursuit of more information on the executive's leave and resignation.

Galveston-based The Daily News submitted an open records request Aug. 9 for all documents related to Dr. Raimer's placement on leave, including any complaints that may have been filed against him. 

The UT system responded to the request Aug. 23, appealing it to the Texas Attorney General's Office. The system wrote that it anticipates "all responsive documents have applicable exceptions to disclosure," The Daily News reports. The system didn't specify why it is seeking open records exceptions.

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.

Dr. Raimer had been with UTMB for decades, including his start as a student in the graduate and medical schools. In 1993, he became the senior vice president of health policy and legislative affairs. He was appointed interim president of UTMB in 2019, assuming the role permanently in 2021. 

Clinically, much of Dr. Raimer's practice has been devoted to the evaluation and treatment of children and adolescents with behavioral disorders and learning disabilities.

UTMB includes four hospital campuses and more than 90 primary and specialty care clinics in Southeast Texas.

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