Rick Carlisle had been CEO of CAN Community Health since April 2015.
SARASOTA — CAN Community Health, one of the largest nonprofits nationwide focused on helping people with by HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs, and other diseases, has parted ways with CEO Rick Carlisle.
Dr. Rishi Patel, former COO and Executive Vice President of CAN, has been named interim CEO, according to a statement. In addition to Patel’s appointment, the CAN board, the release states, will form an Executive Leadership Council tasked with supporting Patel in managing the organization's day-to-day operations.
"We believe Dr. Patel is an excellent choice to serve in the interim CEO role and lead the organization proactively into the future with a solid operational and pharmacy background and a passion for the organization,” CAN Chairwoman Jackie Rogers says in the release. “We have confidence he will serve as an exceptional leader and guiding voice for CAN.”
Carlisle oversaw a significant growth surge at CAN since he was named CEO in April 2015. A onetime Sarasota Memorial Hospital executive who also ran his own construction firm, Carlisle was previously an informal adviser and CAN board member, starting with a friendship he had with CAN’s co-founder, Susan Terry. The organization was called the Community AIDS Network, when it was founded in 1991. It rebranded under the CAN name in 2017.
The organization’s revenue has grown at least 1,791.30% in the past six years, from $23 million to more than $435 million. Part of that revenue growth stems from a federal drug-pricing program called 340B. Under 340B, pharmaceutical companies sign an agreement with the government to provide discounts of at least 50% on medications to pre-approved agencies and health care providers, like CAN. Those agencies, to qualify for 340B, need to have the total funds to pay for the drugs — money that comes from reimbursements, grants and community donations. A third-party administrator holds those funds.
The increased funds provided CAN opportunities to expand its presence nationally, while still focusing on its mission: to contribute to the health and well-being of anyone affected by HIV, Hepatitis C, STDs and other diseases by providing care through outreach, integrated clinical practice, advocacy education and research. It now has 36 locations, including offices in Arizona, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas, in addition to Florida. In 2018 it moved into a new headquarters, a 23,000-square-foot property on Fruitville Road, about halfway between downtown Sarasota and Interstate 75. The organization paid $4.8 million for the property and three acres surrounding it.
CAN now provides essential HIV services to more than 15,000 individuals, the release states. "This was not an easy decision as we are grateful for Richard's service to CAN Community Health during a critical time of growth and expansion in the organization's history against a very challenging macroeconomic backdrop," says Rogers in the statement. "We want to thank Richard for all the work he has done and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Patel initially joined CAN in 2015 as its chief pharmacy officer. According to the organization’s website, he is “accomplished and experienced in cultivating a flourishing multimillion dollar business startup, maintaining excellent customer relations and shows leadership skills which include organizational acumen and team building strengths.”
The council created to support Patel includes CAN CFO Mary Lifland; Chief Administrative Officer Deborah Hawkes; Chief Compliance Officer Leslie Lind; Chief of Corporate Services Roger Capote; Chief of Clinical Services Katy Wendel; Chief Medical Officer Dr. Laura Armas-Kolostroubis; and Vice President of Legal Affairs Brett McNeal.