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Hacienda HealthCare to close unit where incapacitated woman gave birth

PHOENIX – Hacienda HealthCare said Thursday it was shutting down the unit of its Phoenix facility where an incapacitated woman gave birth late last year after being sexually assaulted.

“The Hacienda HealthCare Board of Directors, after a great deal of careful consideration, has come to understand that it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled,” the company said in a statement.

But the heads of Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (the state’s Medicaid agency) and the state Department of Economic Security in a letter Friday claimed that the board chose to shut the facility down over its “lack of financial viability” “rather than complying with the prior agreement to bring in a third party” manager.

“Your recent correspondence and statements to the media make it clear that rather than complying with the prior agreement to bring in a third party and without a definite plan to address challenges Hacienda faced with the third party it chose, such as costs, the Board of Directors decided to close the facility citing the facility’s lack of financial viability.”

The facility was directed to hire a third-party manager or risk having its provider agreement be terminated. A deal with Indiana-based Benchmark Human Services appeared to be in place by a state-imposed deadline, but it was never finalized.

The agencies also requested more information on the facility’s plan to shut down the unit and said state officials were worried that the “facility will be closing with little detail or clarity in your plan to move forward.

“As the health and safety of these residents could be adversely impacted by transitioning them to another facility, every effort should be made to ensure that such a transition is not necessary; at this time the state does not have confidence that Hacienda has provided a plan that meets this test,” part of the letter read.

The letter requested more information from the facility by 4 p.m. Friday as to how the facility would move forward with the closure, adding that the state “does not consent at this time to the ICF-IID ceasing operations.”

Arizona response to Haciend… by on Scribd

An AHCCCS spokeswoman later said Hacienda met the deadline and agreed to keep the unit open under state supervision.

Hacienda HealthCare’s Thursday statement said the board voted Feb. 1 to close the unit and has notified state authorities.

“Since then, we have been working with the proper state agencies to develop a plan to help the state transition our ICF-ID patients to other facilities,” the statement said.

“The care of our patients remains our top priority and we will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition for them and their families.”

Hacienda’s Skilled Nursing Facility is not affected by the decision.

On Dec. 29, a 29-year-old patient who can’t speak and has very limited mobility gave birth at the facility, prompting police to launch a sexual assault investigation and the state to impose restrictions on Hacienda.

The pregnancy wasn’t detected until the woman went into labor.

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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