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Hacienda HealthCare to shut down Mesa-based children’s hospital

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Hacienda HealthCare has announced plans Friday to close its specialty children’s hospital.

According to a statement from the Hacienda Children’s Hospital, located at Baseline and Extension roads in Mesa, is expected to shut down due to finances, citing last year’s rape of a patient at Hacienda’s intermediate care facility as a reason for the closure.

“As a non-profit, Hacienda HealthCare doesn’t have a surplus revenue to sustain Hacienda Children’s Hospital in the face of difficult circumstances,” Hacienda’s interim chief executive officer Perry Petrilli said in the statement.

“The tragic events of the past year have hit hard for so many people – everyone from the victim and the families impacted to Hacienda’s employees to the communities we serve. At the same time, there also has been a substantial impact to our business. This hard, but necessary decision is one more example of that.”

The hospital, which opened in 2015, gives non-emergency, non-surgical “step down” care to medically fragile children who are ready to leave surgical or ICU hospital environments, but are not able yet to return home.

The 24-bed specialty hospital employs 42 staffers. Petrelli believes layoffs are unlikely and that hospital employees will be offered other opportunities at different Hacienda business units. Hacienda currently employs more than 600 people in the Valley.

“Over the past year, Hacienda has taken on enormous unbudgeted, unprecedented costs, from installing a new security system for our intermediate care facility to hiring off-duty police officers and facility security to legal costs and the cost of third-party monitoring,” Petrilli said in the statement. “When you couple that heavy financial toll with the state’s months-long moratorium on admissions to the ICF, the Skilled Nursing Facility and some of our other programs for developmentally disabled individuals, something had to give.

“We’ve right-sized where we can and created new efficiencies where possible. Even so, as much as we love the children’s hospital and the children we’ve been able to help, we simply cannot afford to move forward this program.”

An Aug. 28 hearing has been set for the former nurse, Nathan Sutherland, who is charged with raping an incapacitated patient who gave birth at the long-term care center in Phoenix.

Sutherland pleaded not guilty in February to charges of sexual abuse and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

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