Since news broke earlier this year that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration manipulated nursing home death data, there have been several inaccurate stories circulating on social media that attempt to draw parallels between his decisions in the early stages of the pandemic and those of Gov. Jay Inslee.

DSHS regulates the state’s more than 4,000 long-term care facilities, including 205 nursing homes, and has worked closely with the governor on decisions about admission of new residents, visitation and infection control throughout the crisis. Unlike New York and other states, the governor never forced nursing homes in Washington state to…


Sherri DeRossett and Molli Ragsdale

For Sherry DeRossett, the project was intensely personal. As a Combined Fund Drive lead for the Facilities, Finance and Analytics Administration, she and co-chair Molli Ragsdale had been brainstorming charitable projects FFA employees could get involved in. DeRossett proposed renovating Pear Blossom Place, a 36-bed family shelter in Olympia.

“They will take you in and help you get housed, and help you with job coaching, resumes, food, clothes for an interview,” said DeRossett.

She knew from personal experience. Six years ago, DeRossett lost her job and her savings quickly dwindled. …


Contact:
Adolfo Capestany
DSHS Office of Communications
acapestany@dshs.wa.gov

Deputy CEO Charles Southerland will take the reins as interim CEO at Western State Hospital on April 23.
Deputy CEO Charles Southerland will take the reins as interim CEO at Western State Hospital on April 23.
Deputy CEO Charles Southerland will take the reins as interim CEO at Western State Hospital on April 23.

OLYMPIA- The Department of Social and Health Services announced today that Charles Southerland will step in to lead Western State Hospital as the interim Chief Executive Officer while a search is underway for a permanent replacement of the retiring CEO, David Holt. He begins his new role on April 23.

Southerland has served as the hospital’s deputy CEO since 2018. Prior to that, he served the forensic patient population as a ward administrator. He previously worked for the Department of Corrections for 20 years in various leadership roles and was a mental…


Contact:
Adolfo Capestany
DSHS Office of Communications

David Holt, outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Western State Hospital
David Holt, outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Western State Hospital
David Holt, outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Western State Hospital

OLYMPIA- The Department of Social and Health Services announced that David Holt, Chief Executive Officer of Western State Hospital, is retiring from state service after five years at the 857-bed facility, including the last three as CEO.

“We will miss David and his leadership at Western State Hospital,” said DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange. “He has helped lead the mission to transform the hospital, his dedication and compassion are unprecedented and we wish him all the best in this well-deserved new chapter in his life.”

As CEO, Holt led safety initiatives to reduce assaults…


Observed each year in April since 2002, National Records and Information Management Month celebrates good record keeping and information management; and is a time to emphasize the importance of having organized records. One reoccurring concern in DSHS is transitory records.

Transitory Records are records required for only a limited time for the completion of a routine action or preparation of an ongoing record. Like all records, content and context determine whether a record is transitory, rather than its format. Transitory records are of such short-term value that they are not required to satisfy statutory, legal, and financial obligations, or provide…


This wraps up the series of articles highlighting the 2020 Combined Fund Drive and the charity categories. As with everything else, COVID restrictions forced adjustments to campaign plans and practices with expectations of significant reductions relative to prior campaigns. Going from 150 fundraiser and goods drive events in 2019 to just 41 in 2020 was a significant reduction. The statewide, enterprise events like the calendar sale and the online Basket of Hope auction provided an opportunity for all DSHS employees to give.

Even though we dropped a little from 2019 results, pledges and fundraiser cash exceeded $440,000, which is 96%…


Western State Hospital

OLYMPIA — In alignment with a proclamation issued by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Department of Social and Health Services’ Behavioral Health Administration will immediately allow expanded indoor visitation at Eastern and Western State Hospitals, the Child Study and Treatment Center and the Special Commitment Center on McNeil Island. Visitation will also be allowed at the Fort Steilacoom, Maple Lane and Yakima Competency Restoration Residential Treatment Centers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued guidance on March 10 recommending the return of indoor visitation. Visitation in Washington facilities was prohibited last March…


Western State Hospital social worker Lor Yates.
Western State Hospital social worker Lor Yates.
Western State Hospital social worker Lor Yates.

She’s an author, a thespian, a powerlifting champion and a take-charge recipient of mental health services who kick-started her recovery by famously self-discharging from a psychiatric facility in Texas. But in addition to those accomplishments, we are very grateful to have had Lor Yates as a social worker at Western State Hospital for the past 15 years. Lor (also known as Lori) has worked on the civil and forensic sides of the hospital and currently works on Ward C8.

Lor is highly skilled and persistent in motivating patients to transition back to community living. Her unwavering commitment to patient care…


Dr. Rob Henry with Gov. Jay Inslee

Rob Henry took a unique path to becoming a doctor, so it’s no surprise that he did the same to become the chief medical officer at Eastern State Hospital.

Henry earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and although medical school was always a goal, he didn’t want to return to where his family lived in North Carolina hill country, so instead he joined the Navy and became a missiles division officer on a nuclear cruiser.

“I’m the first person in my family to complete college, and I used the Navy as an…


Developmental Disabilities Administration Assistant Secretary Evelyn Perez

Evelyn Perez may be in the twilight of her career, but the work she did for persons with developmental disabilities will continue long after she retires. In a letter addressed to her last week, the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services made her aware they voted unanimously to present her with the NASDDDS Censoni Award.

According to NASDDS Executive Director Mary Sowers, “the Ben Censoni Award for Excellence in Public Services is the only award that recognizes public officials who strive to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities.”

She added that the award is named…

Department of Social and Health Services

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