Troubled Washington psychiatric hospital gets new CEO

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The interim head of Washington’s largest psychiatric hospital has been appointed to the position permanently.

Dave Holt was announced as the new chief executive officer of Western State Hospital on Monday.

In June Western State lost its federal certification and $53 million in annual federal funds after an unannounced inspection discovered a list of health and safety violations.

The 800-plus bed facility in Lakewood, Washington, has been plagued by problems for years that ranged from assaults on health care workers to escapes by dangerous patients.

Cheryl Strange, the Department of Social and Health Services secretary, said Holt “is the right person with excellent credentials and skills.”

Holt, who had been named interim hospital chief in July, has previously worked as the facility’s chief operating officer and has worked in hospital administration and mental health within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ California hospital system.