Save the Patients, Cut Off the Dick!

Meet Richard Larison.

He is the CEO of Chase Brexton, a community health center in Baltimore.


Larison’s days as CEO are numbered.


Perhaps it’s the nature of his opposition, which gathered in front of Chase Brexton in downtown Baltimore yesterday to demand his removal.

There were none of the typically lame chants like — “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Richard Larison has got to go.”

Instead, protesters were carrying signs that read — “Save the Patients, Cut off The Dick.”

cut off

Turns out that Chase Brexton was developed as a community health center that cared about its patients, which included primarily people from poor, minority and LGBT communities of Baltimore.

But under relentless corporate management pressure to cut costs, more than 100 of the Chase  Brexton staff — physicians, behavioral therapists, social workers, nurses and pharmacists — started organizing to form a union.

Management responded poorly — by firing five workers.

That triggered yesterday’s protests, with staff, patients and supporters from around the Baltimore region demanding that Larison be fired and that the fired five be rehired.


The most moving speeches were made by patients who lost their health care providers when the five were fired. Patient after patient spoke in glowing terms of the care and support they received from their healthcare providers. They were angry that the staff was fired.

Larison came to Chase Brexton in 2012.

And his bio on the Chase Brexton web site is a tip off to his corporate approach to health care.

“A senior healthcare executive with more than 27 years experience, Larison brings with him a portfolio of successful leadership in both domestic and international health care,” the bio reads. “He has led startups and turned around underperforming organizations, effectively meeting financial and quality goals and objectives.”

In an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun last week, two Chase Brexton doctors — Natalie Spicyn and Catherine Maslen — wrote that “healthcare’s top-heavy structures have allowed the financial and operational sectors to usurp the design of healthcare delivery.”

“Clinicians are allied with patients at the front lines but have somehow lost the opportunity to have a voice in the structure and content of their work environments,” they wrote.

“We see every day how patients are affected by current ‘quality’ measures. We want to decrease spending, but we submit that cost savings cannot be achieved by minimizing the time patients spend with their clinicians. Unionization is now the viable way for us to regain our voice at the table when advocating for our patients. We feel certain that in the long run it will benefit both our patients and Chase Brexton.”


Chase Brexton officials say that they oppose the union because it will have “unintended consequences.”

Chase Brexton brought in a group of “union avoidance professionals” to bust the union.

Jen Hodo-Powell, a social worker at Chase Brexton, said that she believes they have the votes to unionize and that the support from the patients has given the workers courage to move forward.

Hodo-Powell said that it would be best if Larison left.

“He has not been responsive to our requests over the last three years,” Hodo-Powell said.

Hodo-Powell said that the “union avoidance professionals” were “attempting to provide us information and encouraged us to make a logical decision, not an emotional one. I don’t think ours is an illogical decision.”

Protester and Chase Brexton patient Ava Pipitone of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance said they were protesting yesterday to demand “the replacement of Richard Larison, affectionately known as Dick in some of our chants.”

dick (2)

“And we are here to demand the rehiring of the fired five,” Pipitone said.

Pipitone said that the firing of Larison will put a stop to the union busting policies he instituted at Chase Brexton.

“It will allow the workers to organize on August 25. And at that point they can collectively bargain to remove the barriers to providing quality care to the marginalized communities that use this place.”

Pipitone said that things were generally working well until Larison showed up and started emphasizing “quantitative over qualitative care, getting people in and out as fast as possible and incentivizing that kind of behavior among caregivers.”

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..