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Hacienda HealthCare hires third-party manager to comply with state order

PHOENIX – Hacienda HealthCare met state demands by contracting an Indiana-based company that specializes in serving people with disabilities to oversee the Phoenix facility where an incapacitated woman gave birth last month.

Benchmark Human Services was hired after two state agencies ordered Hacienda to have a third-party manager in place by Wednesday.

“Working in partnership with state licensing and regulatory agencies, Benchmark has assumed oversight of the facility and is conducting a thorough assessment of the current operations,” the company said in an emailed statement.

Hacienda issued a statement that read: “Their national reputation precedes them, and the Hacienda team is fully committed to working with Benchmark to further improve the care and safety of our patients in both the Intermediate Care Facility and our Skilled Nursing Facility.”

Earlier this month, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (the state’s Medicaid program) and the Arizona Department of Economic Security issued the order, saying the state would terminate its provider agreement with Hacienda if it did not comply.

The state also demanded that the new manager assess each resident and his or her care plan within 90 days.

“Benchmark has extensive experience in both consulting with facilities and organizations that serve people with disabilities and providing direct services to this vulnerable population,” the company’s statement said.

“Our highest priority is to ensure individuals being supported by Hacienda are well cared for and safe.”

On Dec. 29, a woman who can’t speak and has very limited movement gave birth at the long-term center, although care providers weren’t aware she was pregnant.

Phoenix police arrested Nathan Sutherland, a Hacienda nurse, on Jan. 23 after investigators matched his DNA to the baby’s.

Sutherland, who started working for Hacienda in 2012 and was fired after his arrest, is facing one count of sexual assault and one count of abusing a vulnerable adult.

In addition to state inquiries, Hacienda has launched an internal review led by former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley.

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