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Friday, January 06, 2017

Chase Brexton Staff on Accountability

To the editor:

The five of us who write this letter have worked at Chase Brexton for a combined 57 years, and none of us for less than eight years. We come from different backgrounds and have different reasons for coming to and staying with Chase Brexton Health Care. Most of us are part of the LGBT community. We know too well what it is to be one of the underserved, uninsured, and, at times, overlooked. We each hold different positions throughout the organization.

Together, we’ve seen good days, great days, and hard days. But, we believe the work we do every day is something that is personal, important, and valuable for every single person in our communities.

We’re writing this letter because we are tired of not speaking up and we are worried. Worried that our work, and the work of all of our hundreds of colleagues, will get dragged through the mud until members of the LGBT community don’t trust us or abandon us altogether.

Angry members of our community continue to loudly proclaim that Chase Brexton is failing and abandoning the LGBT community. We’ve heard this throughout our decades of service, but over the decades we’ve proven our commitment to LGBT-affirming care, most recently by opening the LGBT Health Resource Center and expanding LGBTQ medical services and programs.

We believe their actions and arguments made under the guise of “Save Chase Brexton” are spiteful and insulting, and are dividing the LGBT community. Nevertheless, we continue to pursue our mission of providing high quality affordable care for all, particularly for those who might otherwise not be able to obtain or afford our services.

They suggest that donating to Chase Brexton’s patient hardship fund, using any of our services, or participating in our upcoming AIDS Walk would support something deceitful. They declare victory when our staff resign. They publish misinformation online, in the media, and across social media. They claim that we are dismantling our integrated care model, when in fact we have expanded it across our organization by increasing access to behavioral health, case management and dental services. They suggest that salaries have been cut, which simply isn’t true. They grandstand when our CEO chooses not to renew his contract, instead suggesting he resigned.

They know that the louder you are, the more persistent you are, and the more you bully, the more you are heard. They would have you believe they speak for all of us. But, they do not represent all of the 400-plus staff at Chase Brexton or all of the 31,000 patients who walked through our doors this year.

We’re proud to be part of a historically LGBT organization and a part of the growth of acceptance, affirmation, and welcoming we see in our communities. This welcoming includes people of all identifications –transgender or cisgender, poly or asexual, gay or straight. We are not limiting our care and we hope those who believe we are abandoning some set idea of the LGBT community will understand that limiting who we provide care for only creates new ideas of discrimination and reduces the impact of an LGBT organization to change the broader communities.

We’re proud of our patient outcomes because we work very hard as a team to support our patients.

Our work and finances are stringently regulated by federal, state, and local entities. Every outcome is analyzed, every dollar accounted for, every grant line scrutinized, every workplace safety regulation inspected. We are Joint Commission accredited, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center, a Patient Centered Medical Home Level 3 provider, and a Healthcare Equities Index leader.

Today, about a quarter of our more than 400 member staff is unionized. We are adapting to it and figuring out how all that fits within the entire organization.

Working at Chase Brexton has been an opportunity to be truly free as an openly LGBT person or ally in an organization that actually is a part of and works for, in, and with the LGBT community. For us, it is the chance to give back to the community from which we came – and that means giving back to every single member of the community. We are not perfect. As we continue to grow, we will run into issues, make mistakes, and stumble. However, our first and last thought in all we do is our patients’ health and how we can provide the very best care possible. We do not believe that attacking Chase Brexton with unwarranted accusations serves our community or allows us to provide that care.

Many of those we serve are, like us, frightened of the future. They, like we, fear that the hard-fought progress earned will slip away. We know it is up to us, and all our colleagues, to ensure that Chase Brexton remains a welcoming, accepting, safe place for them, for us, and for you.

We are Chase Brexton, and we love Chase Brexton. We will continue to carry the amazing work we’ve done through the decades forward, making a difference for our communities, and being here for all who need us. We hope you will be with us.

Alicia Gabriel– Marketing Manager; Amanda Kennedy, RN– Director of Occupational Health & Wellness;
Patrice Meekins– Operations Manager; Tahira Pemberton– Community Liason; Brooks Woodward, DDS– Director of Dental

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