Bowser Appointee to St. Elizabeth’s Quits After Just 1 Month

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St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Southeast D.C. (Photo/dc.gov)

James Kyle, who was hired to lead St. Elizabeth’s Hospital by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D), resigned after just 30 days as the institution’s CEO. Regarded as “a nationally board certified health care executive with over 30 years of experience in the medical field,” by Bowser, Kyle resigned following questions over his qualifications.

According to the Washington Business Journal, Kyle’s experience in the field did not hold up under scrutiny, with the position he held before coming to the District, medical director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Indian Health Services in Rosebud, South Dakota, now at risk of losing its federal funding.

“My previous experience, military service, and training as a health care executive have prepared me for this job,” he told the Washington Post when confronted about his background March 22. Ten days later, on April 4, Kyle tendered his resignation, without citing a reason.

Dr. Kyle contacted several news organizations, including FOX 5 television, and provided documents to substantiate his qualifications. Saying the D.C. government made a mistake in not properly vetting him, Kyle said Bowser asked him to resign. “I can’t talk specifically about personnel matters, but we want to move in a new direction, so we will,” Bowser said in a statement to FOX 5.

Kyle replaced Beth Gouse, who served as interim CEO following the resignation of Patrick Canavan in July 2015. Steeped in accusations of wrongdoing, a federal investigation detailed patient assaults and civil rights violations, including leaving the facility unattended, suicides, and the undue use of solitary confinement and restraints.

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Located in Southeast D.C., St Elizabeth’s Hospital is the District’s public psychiatric facility for individuals with serious and persistent mental illness who need intensive inpatient care to support their recovery. The hospital has 292 licensed beds and 400 admissions annually. St. Elizabeth’s Hospital was the first national facility devoted to the humane treatment of the mentally ill.