After a nearly year-long search, Western State Hospital has hired Dave Holt to be its permanent chief executive officer. Holt had been serving as interim CEO since early July.

dave holt

Courtesy Western State Hospital.

Prior to taking over as interim CEO, Holt served as the hospital’s COO since December 2015 and has more than 35 years of leadership experience in hospital administration and mental health with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in California.

“It is an honor to name Dave Holt as the permanent CEO for Western State Hospital,” DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange said in a statement. “Dave is the right person with excellent credentials and skills needed to continue leading the hospital on its initiatives and advancing the governor’s vision of civilly committed patients receiving the treatment they need in the communities where they live and where they have friends and family members and an integrated healthcare system to support them.”

Holt has his work cut out for him. Back in June, the hospital was notified it would be stripped of its federal certification after failing to meet four of 26 conditions required by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. The failure caused Western State to lose approximately $53 million in funding, or 20 percent of the hospital’s annual costs of $278 million.

“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to continue the hard work under way at Western State Hospital,” Holt said in the statement. “I, along with Secretary Strange, remain dedicated to working with the mental health community, advocates, the legislature, local governments, and the communities to become one of the best when it comes to taking care of those with mental illness.”