Originally created 04/23/98

Outlines S.C. center's problems 042398 - The Augusta Chronicle

I want to thank C. Sanders for the April 19 letter concerning the gross mismanagement of the Margaret J. Weston Medical Center in Clearwater. I resigned in protest, along with three other directors, from the board in March. But we continue to pursue all avenues to see that this center survives and all parties responsible for the current financial collapse of the center, whether they be board members or staff, are removed.

I was on the board of Margaret Weston for one year, and was elected chairman of the board in January. I was appointed interim chief executive officer for two weeks until one could be found. During my time as interim CEO, my worst fears of mismanagment and possible fraud were confirmed.

Daily I faced harrassment by several board members who insisted that I place their friends and relatives in positions of authority. When I refused, they conspired to replace me as chairman and worked behind the scenes with the S.C. Primary Care Director Lathram Woodard to hand pick an interim director. Many of the new board members did not know this was going on.

I am requesting that the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services investigate what has happened at this center and also interference by the S.C. Primary Care Association director. Ms. Woodard bypassed me, as board chairman, and our project officer in Atlanta, to deal directly with board members. This caused total confusion and has put our federal grant in great jeopardy.

I would also like to know if it is legal for the S.C. Primary Care Association to lobby in Washington on federal funds.

I am encouraged by the new board members, and I hope that the seven board members who have been on the board for from three to 25 years will resign immediately. It was their unwillingness to confront and deal with hard issues that has brought the center to financial ruin and has caused a major waste of taxpayer money.

This center is needed in our area, but it must be rebuilt on a foundation that Mrs. Weston would be proud of. What has happened there is a disgrace to her memory and the people she served.

Elaine van der Linden, Belvedere


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