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Ducey: State will be ‘as aggressive as we can’ against Hacienda HealthCare

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said Tuesday that the state plans to be “as aggressive as we can” as investigations into Hacienda HealthCare continue.

Phoenix police have said a 29-year-old woman, who has been at the facility since she was 3 and is intellectually disabled, gave birth in December after she was sexually assaulted at the long-term care facility.

“Well the first thing I want to say is about this situation and what happened to this woman is horrific, and it’s deeply troubling,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos. 

“And this is a criminal investigation, so my first concern is that we find the bad actor who did this, that this person is brought to justice and whatever changes, whatever reforms we need to make, we’re going to make those.”

The Phoenix Police Department is conducting an investigation, and officials at Hacienda HealthCare announced last week that they have launched an internal review into the situation, led by former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.

Ducey mentioned the recent letter two Arizona agencies sent the facility, requiring it to hire a third-party manager to oversee operations.

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (the state’s Medicaid program) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security made the demands last week, following visits to the center.

Hacienda HealthCare must now identify the third-party manager by Jan. 23, and that person must be in place and overseeing day-to-day operations by Jan. 30.

The new manager will need to assess each resident and his or her care plan within 90 days from Jan. 16.

The agencies said the state would terminate its provider agreement with Hacienda HealthCare if it did not comply.

Ducey also responded to calls from former Arizona Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries for the governor to apologize for the incident happening “under his watch.”

Ducey forced Jeffries to resign in November 2016 due to his involvement in a number of scandals.

“In terms of a disgruntled employee who was terminated from state service, I don’t believe that I have to respond to him. I have to respond to the voters and to the citizens and to this situation,” Ducey said.

“And I think the policy changes that we’re making and what see happens through this criminal investigation are the things that I’m going to act on.”

Mac & Gaydos

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