Local News

Former mental hospital director gets new state job

Posted June 20, 2008 12:11 a.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2008 9:21 a.m. EDT

— The former director of the new mental hospital in Butner has a new position in the state health department, a little over a week after she stepped down amid controversy over misused state funds.

Dr. Patsy Christian resigned on June 11 after it was revealed that she had used $572 in state funds to commission a portrait of herself to hang in Central Regional Hospital.

Christian has been assigned a new position in the state hospital system, working to improve quality management of nurse training. Her new salary will be more than $114,000 – about $5,000 less than she made as hospital director.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dempsey Benton has ordered a state investigation into Christian's portrait. No state funds will be used to pay for the portrait, he said.

Benton said Christian's departure will not delay the opening of Central Regional, which will replace Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh and John Umstead Hospital in Butner.

Its opening has already been delayed several times due to concerns over patient safety and employee training.