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Montana State Hospital is under new oversight after two leaders are removed

A sign pointing to the entrances of the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, MT.
Courtesy Montana State Hospital
Montana State Hospital
A sign pointing to the entrances of the Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs, MT.

State health officials have removed two top leaders at the Montana State Hospital (MHS), according to a watchdog group. A new interim administrator is overseeing the facility.

David Culberson took over as the interim administrator of the Montana State Hospital Monday, according to the state health department. Agency spokesperson, Jon Ebelt, in an email to MTPR said Culberson has more than 30 years of experience working in hospital administration.

Ebelt declined to answer questions about why former interim administrator Carter Anderson was replaced, citing it as a private personnel matter.

Disability Rights Montana Executive Director Bernie Franks Ongoy, the federally designated advocacy and watchdog organization, confirmed that Anderson, as well as COO Christopher St. Jean, is no longer at the hospital.

A MSH employee, who MTPR is not naming because they fear retribution by their employer, says hospital staff were told Monday by state health officials during a “town hall” that both Anderson and St. Jean were removed.

The state hospital has experienced administrative turnover since it lost federal funding due to patient deaths last year.

Last year, Anderson replaced Kyle Fouts, who many workers blamed for deteriorating and dangerous conditions at the hospital that led the federal government to withdraw its certification and funding from the facility.

State health officials have told lawmakers that conditions are improving at hospital as they work toward regaining federal certification, but reporting by MTPR showed that severe patient injuries, abuse and neglect have remained an issue.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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