The Oregon State Hospital has named a new chief medical officer, the highest-ranking clinician at the Salem psychiatric facility.
Dr. Rupert Goetz, 59, was selected after a nationwide search. He will lead the hospital’s clinical departments, including psychiatry, psychology, social work, medicine, rehabilitation, nursing and recovery services.
Goetz is scheduled to start working at OSH on Monday. His base pay is $20,000 per month, or $240,000 annually.
The hiring of a new chief medical officer fills a key position that has been vacant since late last year, when Dr. Mark Diamond stepped down.
Goetz will report directly to OSH superintendent Greg Roberts.
“Dr. Goetz brings a wealth of experience and expertise to a very important position here at the hospital,” Roberts said. “I’m confident he will provide strong leadership necessary to keep the hospital on the right path as we strive to improve patient care and move toward patient-centered treatment.”
The push for improved patient care has been spurred by an ongoing five-year federal investigation into alleged violations of patients’ civil rights.
New treatment programs coincide with phased construction of a new $280 million hospital complex on the OSH campus in central Salem.
On Aug. 16, more than 200 patients are scheduled to move into “Trails,” another wing of the new hospital.
Goetz is no stranger to Oregon’s mental health system.
From 1985 until 1995, he worked at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, including stints as director of psychiatric emergency services and director of ambulatory psychiatry.
Goetz later worked as medical director for the Clackamas County Mental Health Department.
He left Oregon in 2003 to become medical director at Hawaii State Hospital.
Goetz also held administrative posts in Hawaii’s mental health system before he left the state in July.
Working in Hawaii, Goetz “faced many challenges similar to those here at OSH,” Roberts said. “He has an excellent understanding of what recovery should look like in community mental health and how important it is to consider trauma when caring for psychiatric patients.”
Taking on a leadership role at Oregon’s main mental hospital prompted him to return to this state, Goetz said.
“I couldn’t resist the opportunity to return to Oregon to help make mental health recovery real for patients, staff and the community,” he said.
Dr. Rupert Goetz
New job: chief medical officer at the Oregon State Hospital in Salem
Annual salary: $240,000
Experience: More than 30 years in the medical profession, starting as an emergency room physician and family practitioner; psychiatric residency at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland; administrative positions at OHSU, including director of psychiatric emergency services; medical director for the Clackamas County mental health department; medical director at Hawaii State Hospital; medical director for the Adult Mental Health Division of the Hawaii Department of Health.