BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University of Maryland Medical Center has requested a $75 million rate increase from state regulators, a nearly 5 percent increase.
The request was made before news broke of the University of Maryland Medical System’s inside deals with its board members.
Since then, Catherine Pugh resigned her position on the board and as mayor of Baltimore, and the system’s CEO Robert Chrencik stepped down.
“The rate increase requested by UMMC is necessary to provide funding for ongoing investment in operations and mission-driven goals – vital initiatives that enable the hospital to deliver first-class care to our patients,” a UMMS spokesperson said in a written statement. “Ultimately, this is about UMMC being able to meet the complex needs of our patients while continuing to serve as a safety net provider for the West Baltimore community.”
State Sen. Jill Carter, (D-Baltimore City) said the timing of the request could not be worse.
“Right now, of course, there’s going to be a perception that this rate massive rate increase somehow is a result of the self-dealing,” Sen. Carter said. “Maybe they should hold off until some of the investigations are done or the internal or external audits are done, that the legislation called for that.”
The controversy surrounding the board spurred a reform bill in Annapolis, requiring multiple audits and the entire Board of Directors to resign and reapply for their positions.
Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission will review the medical center’s request. Executive Director Katie Wunderlich told WJZ.com the application “has not yet been docketed due to completeness questions.”
She said the request is the highest the Commission has received in terms of dollars ($75 million), but not in percentage.
“We need to make sure they have the adequate resources for that, but, you know, we also have to make sure they are spending wisely and fairly,” Sen. Carter said. “What’s important here is transparency and that the public is assured that any increases are not directly connected to misdoing–misdeeds.”