Former federal official tapped as CMO of troubled Eleanor Slater Hospital

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Elinore McCance-Katz, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist and former federal government official, was appointed chief medical officer of the troubled Eleanor Slater Hospital in Rhode Island, and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals, the state agency that runs the facility, according to a Sept. 9 department news release.

Dr. McCance-Katz is returning to the Rhode Island department, where she was CMO from 2015 to 2017. She also has three decades of experience in academic medicine, executive leadership in healthcare settings, and federal/state government leadership positions, according to state officials. Most recently, she worked in the Division of Diversion Control at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

"I am pleased that Dr. McCance-Katz is rejoining BHDDH in a role she has previously held," Richard Charest, director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, said in a news release. "She not only brings a wealth of experience, but also a historical knowledge of the department."

Dr. McCance-Katz, who also served as assistant secretary for mental health and substance use at HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, but resigned from that role after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, returns to Eleanor Slater amid a time of turmoil at the hospital, according to The Providence Journal.

Eleanor Slater, which has campuses in Burrillville and Cranston, regained its Joint Commission accreditation in September after the commission issued a preliminary denial of accreditation, effective June 17, based on a series of findings about dangerous facility conditions, leadership and culture. The preliminary denial was issued following an unannounced review of the facility. Although the hospital has regained accreditation, inspectors are expected back at Eleanor Slater in six to eight months.

After the preliminary denial of accreditation earlier this year, Jennifer White, the CFO of Rhode Island's Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, and former interim CEO of Eleanor Slater, was placed on leave June 28 and resigned July 10. State officials also announced June 28 that Brian Daly, MD, Eleanor Slater's CMO, would resign at the end of July.

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