DSHS BHA Chief Medical Officer

US Government, Dept. of Social and Health Services

At the Department of Social and Health Services, our mission is to Transform Lives and it begins with you!! 

Western State Hospital  is one of the largest inpatient psychiatric hospital west of the Mississippi, with more than 700 patients and nearly 2,800 employees, located in the city of Lakewood, Washington, just south of Tacoma, and to better support this vision, Western has created two separate centers of operations. The Civil Center provides care to patients who have been transferred primarily from the forensic wards and the Forensic Center provides forensic evaluations, restoration and treatment for NGRI patients.  Both centers are involved in supporting the planning for a new forensic hospital to be built on Western State Hospital’s expansive park-like campus. This position is for the Chief Medical Officer of the civil side of operations at Western State Hospital.


We are seeking a visionary and collaborative psychiatrist who has experience as a leader in an inpatient setting who has demonstrated the respect and humility to create and sustain a patient-centered, recovery focused treatment environment that is supportive of patients and medical staff.  We are looking for a psychiatrist leader who can proactively lead, delegate and empower our workforce to live out Western State Hospital’s purpose and values of transforming lives that foster high-quality patient-centered care while preparing our patients to be transitioned to community settings.  


The Chief Medical Officer is in a key leadership role on the civil side reporting to the Chief Executive Officer. You’ll serve as an essential member of the leadership team on the civil center and play a crucial role in overseeing the civil patients for whom the focus is to help them transition into local communities and guiding daily activities related to the hospital’s administration and personnel management. You will strategically plan, develop, manage, direct, and evaluate all clinical and administrative components to assure a supportive environment for all medical staff and clinical medical services. You will oversee, lead, and direct multidisciplinary management teams, programs, projects, and people and ensure that all staff adhere to safety standards and deliver on the highest quality of services and the safest treatment to all patients.    


Primary priorities of what you’ll do:

Model cohesive leadership

  • Direct and demonstrate appropriate and relevant strategies; establish, develop, and implement the overall plans, goals, and objectives to partner and support the team; understand our impact within the communities we serve to deliver safe, quality patient care. 
  • Supervise, lead, train and support the staff; provide direction, expertise, and guidance on complex issues, and work closely with the senior medical leadership team, other multidisciplinary teams of psychiatrists, medical physicians, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, and other clinical staff to champion their own success. 

Manage day-to-day operations 

  • Lead the coordination and operational effectiveness of the hospital’s psychiatric and medical services. 
  • Participate in the formulation of treatment and administrative procedures for clinical services and ensure coordination with the social and rehabilitation programs of the hospital.
  • Provide consultation on clinical matters related to nursing, rehabilitation, and other professional services. 
  • Support new and effective strategies for the clinical staff to ensure medical interventions are efficient and medically necessary. 
  • Develop the current and future business processes to support the unique needs of the patients we serve.  

Maintain compliance 

  • Ensure hospital compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service laws governing the provision of psychiatric inpatient care, the Joint Commission of Accreditation, and Washington state professional standards of practice, Revised Code of Washington, Washington Administrative Code, and agency policies.  

We want to connect with a leader who has experience, expertise, and strengths to:

  • Ensure self and others are accountable for creating a cohesive high quality care environment based on the deep appreciation and respect for others where each person is heard and valued and has an innate talent for fostering an inclusive environment. 
  • Leverage creativity, open to new ideas, and the innovation of others to deliver services, solve problems and improve our processes and mental health care services.
  • Oversee, lead, and direct multidisciplinary management teams, programs, projects, and people
  • Build trust, influence, collaborate, delegate, and be a savvy relationship builder with stellar communication skills.
  • Oversee budget and facilities; apply human resource practices to attract, hire, develop, coach, and retain talent; evaluate performance and recognition, and take corrective actions in accordance with labor and union laws. 
  • Tolerate stress, adapt to changing business needs, make decisions, recommendations, and accept responsibility for the quality and timeliness of work to meet or exceed predetermined goals and objectives.  

If this is your area of expertise and interest, come partner with us in doing this meaningful and critical work. We encourage you to apply!  

Required Education and Experience

  • Valid license to practice medicine and surgery in Washington state
  • Board Certification in general psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Experience in an inpatient setting including leadership and management experience and skills that can be incorporated into the state system to improve services
  • A strong interest in helping others solve complex problems and champion processes that are designed to improve challenging circumstances
  • Familiarity with the RCA process, risk assessment process, quality improvement processes and measures, human resource procedures and just cause, health care systems and some familiarity with health care finance.  

To learn more about the Western State Chief Medical Officer opportunity, DSHS, and BHA click here to view the Chief Medical Officer executive advertisement 

Application Process 

To be considered, please submit a resume and cover letter reflecting relevant experience and demonstrating what makes you a competitive applicant for this opportunity 

Our Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) mission to Transform Lives requires that we come together with a sense of belonging, common purpose, shared values, and meaningful work. It is crucial to our agency’s mission that you bring an equity, anti-racism, and social justice commitment to your work with DSHS. We strive to create greater access and affirming representation of the communities we serve, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, people with physical, behavioral health, and intellectual disabilities, elders, LGBTQIA+ individuals, immigrants and refugees, and families building financial security. 

If you have questions about this ad, job number 2022-08049, contact Anu Rao at (360) 972-6206 or via email at anu.rao@dshs.wa.gov


NOTE: Per Governor Inslees’  Proclamation 21-14   (Download PDF reader)  state employees must be fully vaccinated. Your vaccine status will be verified. Please note medical or religious accommodation may be available, once an offer of employment is made. 

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