API chief, two other Health officials resign

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - The CEO of the state-run psychiatric hospital and two other high-level health department officials have resigned.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Health and Social Services says Alaska Psychiatric Institute CEO Ron Hale has resigned, as have Deputy Commissioner Karen Forrest and Director of the Division of Behavioral Health Randall Burns.

The three offered their resignations Friday, effective immediately.
Their resignations come a day after the state revealed the outcome of a third-party investigation into the psychiatric hospital after employees complained of a hostile work environment and safety concerns.

The report found ineffective scheduling practices, a cultural divide over restraining and secluding patients, lack of programming for patients and changes in the patient population contributed to an unsafe workplace.

Katie Marquette, a spokesperson for the state health department, said she couldn’t give information out on the reasons for their resignations, because they were a personnel matter.

DHSS Commissioner Valerie Davidson appointed immediate replacements to the positions:

Monique Martin will serve as the acting Deputy Commissioner of Family, Community, and Integrated Services.

Gennifer Moreau-Johnson will be acting Director for the Division of Behavioral Health.

Duane Mayes will be the CEO of the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Since Mayes was the Director for the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services, his shoes will be filled by Deb Etheridge as acting Director.

“I have asked each of these individuals to help our department develop a clear path forward during this time of change,” Davidson wrote in a statement.

The Deputy Commissioner of Family, Community & Integrated Services oversees the Director of Behavioral Health. The Director of Behavioral Health has overseen the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, but moving forward, Marquette said, Duane Mayes, the new CEO of API, will report directly to DHSS Commissioner Valerie Davidson.



 
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