OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed an acting secretary for the Department of Social and Health Services while a national search begins for a permanent leader.

Inslee appointed Patricia Lashway to the post Wednesday. She currently serves as the assistant secretary responsible for the day-to-day management of the 17,500-employee agency.

Previously, Lashway was the senior director of policy and external relations for the agency.

The move comes after Secretary Kevin Quigley announced his resignation Jan. 5, saying three years is the right amount of time for him to serve in the role. His last day is Feb. 22.

The agency runs several state programs including Medicaid, Child Protective Services and mental health and addiction services.

Lashway's appointment will start Feb. 23.

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