Bethesda

Above is a 2021 file photo of one of the last-remaining vestiges of Bethesda in Watertown — it’s corporate offices. The facility remain as Bethesda’s corporate headquarters, albeit with staff reductions. The most recent significant change for Bethesda’s corporate level has been Monday’s announcement that its President and CEO Mike Thirtle is stepping aside.

Bethesda’s board of directors announced Monday that President and CEO Mike Thirtle will be leaving to take on a new role outside the organization effective July 9 and Chief Operating Officer Dave Sneddon has been appointed as interim CEO.

“I know that leaving was a very difficult decision for Mike given his commitment to Bethesda, the people we support and the disability community. We will be forever grateful for Mike’s hard work that helped transform the organization. That said, we are now in a position to grow many of our existing services exponentially, with several new and exciting programs under development,” said Cesar Villalpando, chairman of Bethesda’s board.

“Transforming the organization has meant reimagining its role in supporting people with developmental disabilities,” a media release from Bethesda stated. “Instead of addressing a series of disconnected needs, Bethesda considers and serves the whole person – empowering them to do more today and achieve more tomorrow. This unique approach carries on from childhood through mature adulthood. As having a safe, quality home is a primary concern at any age, Bethesda pioneered a new and innovative residential community that welcomes and integrates people of all abilities — Cornerstone Village. This concept, launched near Minneapolis, is expanding to Milwaukee and further within the Twin Cities. Additional creative living options, including host homes, are expanding in Colorado, California, Oregon and Minnesota. Meanwhile, to meet growing demand and significant need, Bethesda’s behavior support services are rapidly growing in several key markets, and will now include children’s services.”

“The board has full confidence in Dave Sneddon’s ability to successfully step into the interim CEO position and lead the organization through this transition,” Villalpando added.

He said Sneddon joined Bethesda two years ago and, “has already made a tremendous positive impact” on the organization.

“He brings with him more than 16 years of senior leadership experience in health care, senior housing, and skilled nursing,” Villalpando said.

“The current group of highly talented leaders that make up Bethesda’s Executive Leadership Team will support Sneddon.

“Led by Chairperson Villalpando, a national search committee has been launched and is comprised of board directors and management,” Bethesda said. “The search committee has developed an aggressive schedule that will lead to identifying the best CEO to lead the organization toward a very bright future.”

This is another big change for Bethesda in recent months.

Saying it was the best of all possible outcomes for everyone concerned, Bethesda announced in April that its residential programs, many in Watertown, had been acquired by Broadstep Behavioral Health Inc., with offices in Milwaukee and other parts of the U.S.

Bethesda Senior Director of Public Affairs Don Klein said it has announced to its employees, parents and guardians that its Watertown residential programs would be acquired by what he called the, “high-quality, mission-driven organization, Broadstep Behavioral Health Inc.”

Klein said Bethesda sought this acquisition after much consideration, because it determined its local, residential operations were no longer sustainable.

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