DSHS names Holt as new CEO of Western State


After almost a year, the search for a permanent Chief Executive Officer at Western State Hospital is over. Dave Holt, who has been interim in the position since July 6, is now the permanent CEO.

Holt, who is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives has worked as the hospital’s Chief Operating Officer since December 2015. Holt holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Redlands in southern California and a bachelor’s of science from BYU in recreation therapy and has over 35 years leadership experience in hospital administration and mental health within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ hospital system in southern California.

“It is an honor to name Dave Holt as the permanent CEO for Western State Hospital,” explained DSHS Secretary Cheryl Strange. “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 stepped into his role as interim CEO just after the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) announced the outcome of its final survey on the hospital after a two-year systems improvement agreement. In those two years, hospital leadership, which included Holt as the Chief Operating Officer, fixed physical plant issues, hired and trained staff and improved patient care and overall safety for both patients and staff. After the survey, the hospital received high praises from CMS for the vast improvements made despite falling just short of meeting all 26 (the hospital met 22) conditions of participation required to retain federal funding.

“It is an honor to be given the opportunity to continue the hard work under way at Western State Hospital,” said Dave Holt. “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.”

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