Washington governor fires hospital CEO following patients' escape

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) has fired the CEO of Western State Hospital, a Lakewood, Wash.-based psychiatatric facility, after two patients deemed "dangerous" escaped last week, according to The Associated Press.

Here are five things to know about the situation.

1. Current CEO Ron Adler will be replaced April 25. Cheryl Strange, who formerly headed up Washington's public mental health system, will serve as his successor.

2. On April 6, two Western State Hospital patients — Mark Alexander Adams and Anthony Garver — escaped from the 800-plus-bed facility, presumably through a loose window. Mr. Adams was arrested in 2014 on charges of second-degree assault with a domestic violence enhancement, but was found incompetent to stand trial. Mr. Garver was arrested in 2013 on charges of first-degree murder. He was accused of allegedly tying a 20-year-old woman to a bed with electrical cords and stabbing her to death, but was also found incompetent to stand trial.

Police located Mr. Adams in Des Moines, Wash., on the afternoon of April 7. Mr. Garver made it to Spokane, Wash., before he was caught April 8.

3. The escape is just one incident in a string of problems at Western State Hospital. Gov. Inslee attributed the issues to a staffing shortage — as of April 3, there were 146 nursing and therapy vacancies, according to the report.

A state judge claimed the hospital "has failed to provide timely competency services to mentally ill people charged with crimes," according to the report.

U.S. officials have also listed concerns over the hospital's safety metrics and have threatened to pull the plug on federal funding. CMS recently had to extend Western State's deadline for solving the issues from April 1 to May 3.

4. Both state and hospital officials were pleased with Gov. Inslee's decision. Sen. Mark Miloscia (R) called the firing "better late than never," according to the report.

Paul Vilja, RN, Western State Hospital's nursing supervisor, agreed. "As a previous union officer, I met with this CEO at least two times per week," he said, according to the report. "At no time did I feel that he assimilated the data that was provided... In some meetings, he lost his temper and often made inappropriate comments."

5. Mr. Adler has yet to comment on the situation. Washington Department of Social and Health Services spokeswoman Kathy Spears said Mr. Adler wasn't available for comment until later this week, according to the report.

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