Robert W. Ginn, 74, hospital finance director

April 19, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Robert W. Ginn, former director of finance at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital and several other area hospitals, died of complications from liver cancer April 12 at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. The longtime Towson resident was 74.

Mr. Ginn was born and raised in Scarsdale, N.Y., and graduated in 1947 from Eastern Military Academy in Stamford, Conn.

He enlisted in the Navy Medical Corps in 1947, and he served as a shipboard medical officer. He attained the rank of lieutenant junior grade and graduated in 1955 from the Naval School of Hospital Administration at Bethesda Naval Hospital. After leaving the Navy in 1961, he remained in the Naval Reserve until 1974, when he retired as a commander.

Mr. Ginn earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Iona College in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1961, and a master's in business in 1963 from New York University.

He began his career as assistant finance director at hospitals in Brooklyn, N.Y., and was named director of finance at Greater Baltimore Medical Center in 1970.

Mr. Ginn's arrival at GBMC came at a time of financial hardship for the Towson hospital.

"Turning around the finances at GBMC was like turning around a battleship, but he got them in the black. He knew the accounting rules and regulations backward and forward, and could squeeze $10 out of a stone," said Randy McMenamin, a former vice president of Mercantile Safe-Deposit and Trust Co. who had managed the hospital's endowment funds.

"He worked day and night, seven days a week, trying to improve the hospital's financial condition, and he knew what he was doing," said Mr. McMenamin, now managing director at Hardesty Capital Management.

In the late 1970s, he was named vice president of fiscal affairs at Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital in Philadelphia, and returned to Baltimore in 1979 as director of finance and systems for what is now University of Maryland Medical Center.

Mr. Ginn didn't mind his popularity suffering as he tried rein in hospital finances and spending.

"At Hahnemann, for instance, he issued a financial statement to department heads and, based on the money they had spent in the first six months of the year, froze the budget. They were quite annoyed because they could spend no additional money," Mr. McMenamin said. "But he finished up his first year there in the black and with a productive cash flow."

From 1986 until retiring in 1991, Mr. Ginn was vice president for fiscal services at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital.

"As an individual, he was very, very intelligent, and he knew the hospital rate-setting system very well," said Frank A. Pommett, executive director of Sacred Heart Hospital in Cumberland and former chief executive officer of Mount Washington. "He was very good at helping hospitals get the most out of their rate structure. ... He could do it not only by looking at numbers but also systems and finding creative solutions."

Mr. Pommett described him as "a man who didn't need or require the trappings of office and liked dressing casually," and added, "He also had a love for practical jokes, which wasn't always shared by everyone."

After retiring, Mr. Ginn worked for several years as a hospital consultant.

He was a longtime Orioles and Colts season ticket holder.

His wife of 44 years, the former Mary Elizabeth King, a librarian and community activist, died in 2001.

Services at Arlington National Cemetery are private.

Mr. Ginn is survived by a son, Andrew S. Ginn of Baltimore; a daughter, Miriam E. Maliszewski of Forest Hill; and a grandson.

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