Months after the health care provider’s employees took on a public fight to unionize, Chase Brexton Health Care’s CEO Richard Larison has decided he will not renew his contract, the health care provider’s board of directors announced today.
“While this was a considerably difficult decision, I believe ending my tenure at Chase Brexton will allow the organization to move forward,” Larison said. “Chase Brexton’s mission must come above all else, and it is my hope that this change will allow the organization to regain its focus and continue to provide exceptional patient care for our underserved communities.”
Larison joined Chase Brexton in July 2012, and oversaw continued expansion of its role as a Federally Qualified Health Center. The health care provider opened a new center in Glen Burnie; created The LGBT Health Resource Center; expanded substance abuse treatment, behavioral health and dental programming; and launched OB/GYN services and pediatrics, including trans-specialty pediatrics, during Larison’s tenure.
In August, employees at the Baltimore health clinic voted to unionize with 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East after five supervisors were abruptly fired after getting involved in the effort. Employees said they wanted to unionize in response to an increase is patient load, which led to a decrease in quality of care. Chase Brexton primarily treats poor populations who do not have insurance, including many patients who are HIV positive and members of the LGBT community. Chase Brexton management responded to the vote in August saying that it was not in the best interest of the organization.
Chase Brexton declined to comment on whether Larison’s decision to step down had anything to do with the summer’s unionization fight.
The Board’s search committee will work on finding a replacement. In the meantime, Joseph Lavelle will continue as interim president of operations and will oversee a transition plan and day-to-day operations, Chase Brexton said.
The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Chase Brexton over the summer. The NLRB has not made a decision based on the complaint, said SEIU representative Brian Owens.
Since the vote to unionize, members have been putting together bargaining proposals and are meeting with Chase Brexton management on Wednesday.
“We’re really hoping management is serious about sitting down,” Owens said. “We’ve tried to maintain a good relationship with management.”