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More Hacienda HealthCare executives, including CEO, leave after sex assault

This Friday, Jan. 4, 2019, photo shows Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — More executives at Hacienda HealthCare, including the company’s newly appointed CEO, have left the facility.

Nine members of the company’s management team were fired or resigned, it was announced Friday, adding to the list of officials who left after a nurse was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an incapacitated patient.

The Board of Directors said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM that Patrick White, the CEO since January, Kayte Del Real, the COO for clinical services and McKenzie Gillies, the director of patient services, were terminated on Thursday.

In addition to the firings, board member Dr. Kevin Berger resigned effective immediately on Thursday, the same day that chairman Tom Pomeroy and internal investigator Rick Romley announced their resignations.

A number of other employees, including Kevin Payne, the chief operating officer of operations; Tina Meredith, the director of support services; Marianne Love-Day, the director of corporate compliance; Valerie Brehm, the director of nursing; and Nancy Salmon, vice president of corporate communications, all submitted their resignations to be effective on March 13.

The resignations have not yet been accepted.

Perry Petrilli, a longtime Hacienda employee, was named as Del Real’s replacement. He will assume primary responsibility for patients’ safety and care and will soon submit a staffing plan going forward.

As ever, our top priority remains the safety and medical care of our clients,” the board’s statement read.

“We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their health and well-being and to improve the services Hacienda offers to those we serve.”

A number of Hacienda executives have already announced their resignations.

Former Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons announced in January that he would resign, effective immediately.

Pomeroy announced Thursday that he would resign in order to allow new leadership to step in after a 29-year-old patient with limited mobility and no speech gave birth at a Phoenix facility in December.

“Hacienda needs to get better, because what Hacienda does is too important to accept such a failure,” Pomeroy said in a statement.

“If my resignation contributes in some way to Hacienda moving forward, then I do so sadly, but without an iota of doubt. I want Hacienda to thrive for its patients, their families, our people and our community.”

Romley, the attorney who was hired to conduct an internal investigation of the facility, also announced Thursday that he would leave the review that he began mid-January.

ABC15 reported that Romley said he had issues with Hacienda’s board of directors and their level of cooperation.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s spokesman Patrick Ptak said Arizona Department of Health Services employees have been monitoring the facility on-site and patient care shouldn’t be affected.

Nathan Sutherland, a Hacienda nurse who cared for the patient during the time of the alleged sexual assault, was arrested on Jan. 23, after investigators said they matched his DNA to the baby’s.

He has since pleaded not guilty to the charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

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