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Gov. Inslee Fires Western State Hospital CEO After Recent Escapes

Governor Jay Inslee.
Flickr Photo/GovInslee (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Governor Jay Inslee.

The head of Washington's largest psychiatric hospital was fired Tuesday. Governor Jay Inslee has announced that CEO Ron Adler will no longer lead Western State Hospital.

Inslee has already named a new CEO: Cheryl Strange, who previously managed the state public mental health system.

The decision is related to staffing problems. Inslee said hiring was not happening fast enough under Adler. The state estimates 125 positions are unfilled.

Inslee: "When you usually have two people in a room, so somebody's got your back, now there's only one person in the room. That has created some security issues. Hiring a new CEO is not going to solve all the problems at this institution. Unless we are able to get enough people to work in this institution, we are going to have difficulties."

Staff and patients have been injured in attacks. And then last week, two dangerous patients escaped. They've since been re-captured.

Inslee said he'll work with hospital and DSHS leaders to speed up hiring.