Arizona Gov. Ducey hopes to keep Hacienda patients from relocating

Jun 26, 2019, 4:15 AM

(KTAR News/Matt Bertram)...

(KTAR News/Matt Bertram)

(KTAR News/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is hoping a swift solution to ongoing problems at Hacienda HealthCare will allow the facility to remain open.

Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac & Gaydos on Monday that he would prefer not to shut down the facility and relocate longtime patients.

“We’ve had people who have spent their whole life in this facility, so it’s not so much about shutting this place down because even their families don’t want them moved or have to be relocated,” Ducey said. “What they want is a safe environment where they can be cared for, and that’s what we’re working on.”

Ducey said he expects a change in management or ownership in the next 30 days will help stabilize the troubled facility.

Hacienda has been under state supervision since February, but has been under the microscope since the start of the year after an incapacitated patient gave birth in late December.

Nathan Sutherland, a former nurse at the facility who had been one of the woman’s caregivers, was arrested in January and charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult after authorities said his DNA matched that of the baby. He pleaded not guilty in February.

Since, most of the facility’s staff has been fired or resigned, including former CEO Bill Timmons.

Hacienda’s problems haven’t yet been curbed.

Earlier this month, a patient was found with maggots under his bandage near an incision.

The Arizona Department of Health Services issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke Hacienda Healthcare’s license on June 14 as a result.

Ducey called Hacienda’s situation “awful and disturbing,” but thinks a permanent solution isn’t far off.

“My first concern is for the care of the patients,” Ducey said. “What we want to make certain is that they have the proper health care and caregiving.

“That’s what we’re working on and we’re convinced we’ve solved much of the problem. There’s some more left to do and that’s what we’re focusing on now.”

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Arizona Gov. Ducey hopes to keep Hacienda patients from relocating