New Executive to Head Large Psych Hospital

By Paige Browning

The new executive for Washington’s Eastern State Hospital comes with experience as a CEO of a health care system in Tucson, Arizona, and local experience as well. Dorothy L. Sawyer received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Washington University, and began her career as a nurse in Spokane.

She’ll take over in August as Eastern State’s Chief Executive Officer. Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson John Wiley says Sawyer will oversee about 700 employees in clinical and support staff.

Wiley: “It is treating patients with mental illnesses, and it has a civil side and a forensic side, and those patients are referred to us through regional support networks such as community mental health.”
 
Eastern State, in Medical Lake, is one of two adult psychiatric hospitals run by the state, and it’s had a hectic past year.
 
Former executive Connie Wilmot resigned in March. She now serves as a mental health nurse consultant for DSHS Home and Community Services in Spokane. In November, an inmate was accused of strangling another inmate to death, which led the hospital to lose accreditation for a short time.
 
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