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Why was Hacienda HealthCare not licensed by Arizona?

(Google Maps photo)

PHOENIX — Hacienda HealthCare, the Phoenix facility where a woman in a vegetative state gave birth last month, prompting a sexual assault investigation, was never licensed by the state. But why?

An Arizona Department of Health Services representative told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the facility where the woman was housed, Hacienda de los Angeles, is a Medicaid-certified facility and is exempt from state licensing due to an Arizona statute.

The certification also allows Hacienda to get reimbursed from the government if contractors, such as the state Department of Health Services, makes sure the facility is keeping up with regulations.

If serious deficiencies were found at the facility, Hacienda could then be put on a so-called “termination track,” which would give the facility 90 days to correct those deficiencies.

If those deficiencies were not corrected within 90 days, it would then it could lose certification. Without certification, the facility would not receive federal funding anymore.

A 29-year-old San Carlos Apache Tribe member, incapacitated since she was 3, became pregnant after she was sexually assaulted at the long-term care center, police said. She gave birth on Dec. 29 and has since been removed from the facility.

Two agencies — the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (the state’s Medicaid program) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security — ordered Hacienda on Wednesday to hire a third-party manager in an effort to protect its patients.

The facility agreed to the demand and must identify the manager by next Wednesday. That person must be in place and overseeing day-to-day operations by Jan. 30.

Another allegation of abuse has been made against Hacienda staffers this week.

A female patient who suffers from a “serious intellectual disability” claimed she was yelled at by staff members and struck in the head and arm.

The two female staffers — a registered nurse and a certified caregiver — have been placed on administrative leave.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

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