About Rusk State Hospital

Rusk State Hospital (RSH) is located on property owned by the State of Texas since 1877. Construction was completed in 1878 on a 576-foot long, three-story penitentiary. It is now the hospital's administration building.

During the early years the prisoners assisted in construction of the Texas State Railroad from Rusk to Palestine. The railroad was the only state-owned railroad until 2007 when it was privatized, and it is a current tourist attraction. The prisoners also built the Old Alcalde, an iron ore smelting furnace adjacent to the main building. The furnace's iron and iron products were used in many Texas state buildings and throughout the United States.

When the prison closed in 1917, the Texas legislature authorized and appropriated funds for its conversion to a mental hospital. On June 11, 1919, the hospital received its first patient. The facility was named Rusk State Hospital by the legislature in 1925. The Skyview Maximum Security Unit for mentally ill offenders from throughout Texas was established in 1953 and was transferred to Vernon State Hospital in 1988. In June 2012, the hospital opened a new maximum security unit.

Now under the supervision of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), Rusk State Hospital is one of the nine state hospitals sharing the responsibility of conserving the mental health of Texas citizens and helping persons with intellectual disabilities achieve their maximum potential.


The Rusk State Hospital is organized administratively according to the guidelines developed by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) Governing Body:

  • The Superintendent is the chief executive officer and is appointed by the HHSC Associate Commissioner of the State Hospital System and is responsible for the facility infrastructure, functions, resources, services provided, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and administrative supervision of all facility operations. The individuals directly supervised by the superintendent are:

    • The Assistant Superintendent is responsible for providing support to and supervision of quality and information management, client rights, facility competency & training developments, job center, security department, food service and environmental services.

    • The Clinical Director is responsible for the clinical supervision of medical staff and supervision of the clinical services, dental services and pharmacy services.

    • The Chief Nurse Executive is responsible for the clinical supervision of nursing staff and supervision of nursing services, nurse managers and medical consultant contracts.

    • The Financial Officer is responsible for business administrative services including accounting, budgeting, property management, cashier, mail room and canteen.

    • The Director, Plant Maintenance is responsible for the supervision of maintenance, grounds keeping and fleet management. Work involves planning, scheduling, and supervising maintenance and repair programs and construction projects, including those performed by contractors.

    • The Director, Community Relations is responsible for implementing a comprehensive volunteer services program, family house, patient clothing center, public information officer and Peer Support Programs.

    • The Director, Residential Services is responsible for providing supervision and guidance to the unit program directors, social work services and admissions office, as well as court services, rehabilitation and activities therapy and pastoral services. The Residential Services director also works collaboratively with mental health authorities and other community-based agencies to ensure continuity of care and interstate transfers, interdepartmental transfers and placement of patients with intellectual disabilities who no longer require inpatient psychiatric hospitalization.

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Last updated September 14, 2017