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New Perkins CEO named

Gov. Martin O'Malley this morning said that the new CEO of the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center will be David S. Helsel, who has led a state facility in Catonsville facility since 2004.

Helsel will take over Perkins amid great turmoil at the institution. In the past year three patients have been killed, including two in recent days. The hospital treats mentally ill patients, including many with criminal histories who were deemed unfit to prosecuted. The institution is undergoing multiple reviews in the wake of the violence, including the possibility of some type of federal intervention. 

"We're glad he's willing to do a really tough job," said O'Malley of Helsel after Wednesday's Board of Public Works meeting. The governor noted that Joshua Sharfstein, the state's secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "thinks very highly of him."

Sharfstein said in a statement that Helsel is "one of the most experienced and accomplished" administrators in the state. Helsel is now the CEO of the Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville, a post he's held since 2004. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1980.

Helsel will start on November 14. Cheryl Heilman will become the new interim CEO of Spring Grove when Helsel leaves.

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