Stanton leaves state health panel Barclay takes over planning group as acting director


September 26, 1998|By M. William Salganik | M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF

The executive director of the Health Resources Planning Commission resigned abruptly last week. James R. Stanton had directed the commission for 16 years.

Stanton's resignation came as the General Assembly, which has considered bills the past two years that would have merged the planning commission with two other health regulatory bodies, once again put regulatory reform on the legislative agenda.

Stanton said yesterday that the commission met last week in executive session, "and I informed the commission I would leave my position within the next year in order to facilitate discussion of health regulatory reform without making it look like I was trying to maintain my job or agency."

The commission then met without him. The commission's chairman spoke with him a week ago, he said, "and we mutually agreed I would resign my position." He left that day.

Dr. George Malouf, the Prince George's County ophthalmologist who chairs the panel, yesterday declined to discuss the commission's deliberations involving Stanton.

Asked whether the commission was seeking to move in a new direction in the future, he said, "The commission is not necessarily looking for anything, but the General Assembly is, and for good reason." He said he believed that the different commissions were doing good jobs but there was some "duplication and redundancy" that justified a reorganization.

The Health Resources Planning Commission has approval authority over a variety of health projects that require capital spending, ranging from whether a new nursing home can open to whether a hospital can offer open heart surgery.

The other regulatory bodies potentially involved in a reorganization are the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets hospital rates, and the Health Care Access and Cost Commission, which regulates health insurance for small employers and issues a "report card" on HMOs.

Pamela Barclay, who had been associate director of the planning commission, is now acting director. Directors are named by the commission with approval of the governor.

Stanton said he was "looking at options" for the future. He also said that, given changes in the health marketplace in the 1990s, "I believe it is important that health regulatory reform be accomplished."

Pub Date: 9/26/98

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