AUGUSTA — Riverview Psychiatric Center Superintendent Mary Louise McEwen has been terminated after five years on the job, according to Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

“In evaluating where Riverview Psychiatric Center is today and our vision for the hospital moving forward, I felt that a change in leadership gave us the best opportunity to achieve that vision,” said Mayhew in a written statement Wednesday morning. “I appreciate Ms. McEwen’s years of service and wish her success in future endeavors.”

McEwen has worked in the mental health field for 23 years, according to biographical information about her which is posted on the Department of Health and Human Services’ website. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in business administration. She served for 28 years with the Maine Air National Guard before retiring from that post. She joined Riverview in 2009, when she was appointed to lead the organization in June 2009 by then-DHHS Commissioner Brenda Harvey.

Riverview is a 92-bed state-run mental health hospital in Augusta that houses some of the most troubled patients in Maine, including some who have committed violent crimes but were found by the judicial system to be not responsible because of mental incapacity.

Riverview has been at the center of turmoil in recent months since the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services notified the state in October 2013 that it was terminating Riverview’s Medicaid Provider Agreement because of overcrowding, inadequate staff and the use of methods such as handcuffs and Tasers to subdue violent patients.

“Riverview Psychiatric Center will continue moving forward its efforts to reinforce a patient-centered culture that is focused on recovery, while ensuring safety for the clients, visitors and staff,” said Mayhew, who offered no further details because this is a personnel matter.

Efforts to reach McEwen on Wednesday morning were unsuccessful.


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