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More Hacienda HealthCare officials resign after leadership changes

The Hacienda HealthCare facility is shown Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The dominoes are still falling at Hacienda HealthCare, after nine executives left the long-term health care facility last week in the wake of a scandal involving a nurse who was arrested for allegedly assaulting an incapacitated patient.

Board member Ralph Wallork resigned from the Phoenix facility Thursday, citing health as the reason, Hacienda HealthCare spokesman David Leibowitz told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

Wallork’s resignation comes on the heels of the registrations of two Skilled Nursing Facility officials — Brian Hernie and Cristina Cera. Leibowitz said both of them have already been replaced.

Hernie and Cera cited issues with acting CEO Perry Petrilli as their reasons for leaving, according to AZFamily.

There are currently four people serving on the board. Chairman Tom Pomeroy and board member Dr. Kevin Berger resigned Feb. 28.

“From the first moment we learned about a tragic assault, a pregnancy and a birth at Hacienda, we have been focused on one thing – living up to the commitment we made to provide the best possible medical care to residents, and keeping them safe,” board president Gary Orman said in a statement.

“We can never again let down the residents we care for or their families. We understand that some people believe we aren’t the right board for this task. Respectfully, we hope to work as hard as we can for as long as we can to prove them wrong.”

Petrilli was appointed as COO for clinical services last month after Kayte Del Real was terminated, the board said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Del Real was one of nine members of the company’s management team who were fired or resigned. Patrick White, the CEO since January, and McKenzie Gillies, the director of patient services, were also terminated.

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.

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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