Western State Hospital has a new interim CEO: Marylouise Jones, who steps forward to lead the embattled facility while a search is under way for a permanent head.

Current Western CEO Cheryl Strange was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee last week as the new secretary of Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

“I am confident that Dr. Jones can keep us moving forward on the path to maintain the improvements in care we have achieved to date; to keep striving toward improvements that ensure treatment addresses the chronic, acute and complex physical health needs of our patients; and to ensure we keep our focus on excellence in care and recovery,” said Carla Reyes, assistant secretary for the Behavioral Health Administration.

“My thanks to Cheryl for her work as the CEO since May 2016 and many thanks to Dr. Jones for continuing to lead the hospital into this next phase of transformation,” she added.

A press release from DSHS called Jones a “a critical part of the hospital’s team, emerging as a strong leader over the past year of transformation.” The organization hopes to announce Strange’s permanent successor within the next three months.