Here’s how things have changed for people with disabilities after Hacienda

Aug 9, 2019, 10:47 AM

(AP Photo/Matt York)...

(AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — An executive order, several laws and countless news stories in the past eight months have highlighted some of the changes put in place following the sexual assault of an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a Phoenix care facility.

But what has really changed since the Hacienda HealthCare scandal?

Erica McFadden, executive director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that while there has been progress, it’s not as easy to measure as one might think.

“I can tell you that there has been a lot of momentum when it comes to what needs to be done in Arizona when it comes to recognizing abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults,” McFadden said.

In February, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order to extend protections of people with intellectual disabilities and other vulnerable adults.

The executive order requires care agencies to go through Adult Protective Services before hiring caretakers and require them to take abuse and neglect training in order to work with vulnerable adults.

McFadden and the ADDPC, as well as other disability advocates, have also worked with the Governor’s Office and state Legislature to pass 13 laws this year to extend protections for people with disabilities.

“Before, when you reported a case of neglect, you had to show a pattern,” McFadden explained. “That legislation now has changed so that now you only have to have one instance of neglect for [Adult Protective Services] to go investigate.”

The council also met this summer to discuss further research that needs to be done on the topic, to brainstorm how to better educate people about sexual assault resources and to draft suggestions for legislators.

And while these are important steps and she’s thankful they’ve been taken, McFadden said it’s still not enough.

“For many in the disability community there’s a lot of impatience because we do not want to ever see what happened at Hacienda to ever happen to anyone again,” she said.

“That was ridiculous and horrible, and we think a lot of these changes should have happened yesterday. Even though there’s all these positive things that have happened and momentum, it’s just not enough for disability advocates. Action needs to happen now.”

One of the biggest areas left for growth is education.

“Just for people with a cognitive disabilities as a whole, [sexual assault] is seven times the rate of people without any disabilities,” McFadden said.

“For women with cognitive disabilities, that rate is 12 times the rate of anybody else. We’re already at higher rates of abuse in general, but those numbers are shocking.”

The council will reconvene in September to determine what immediate action is required to make sure the executive order and other laws are being implemented effectively.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Arizona's Aliyah Alpert, 13, moved on to the quarterfinals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ...

Danny Shapiro

Arizona girl moves on to quarterfinals of Scripps National Spelling Bee

One of Arizona's two participants in the Scripps National Spelling Bee is moving on to Wednesday's quarterfinals after perfect preliminary rounds.

9 minutes ago

A woman will be arrested after a bomb was found at a Phoenix apartment complex on May 27, 2024. (AP...

Woman to be arrested for bomb threat at Phoenix apartment complex

A woman will be arrested for a bomb threat that was made at a Phoenix apartment complex on Monday, authorities said.

1 hour ago

From left, alleged Arizona fake electors Michael and Kelli Ward appear with their attorney during t...

Kevin Stone

Poll: More Arizona voters think alleged fake GOP electors are guilty than innocent

The 11 Arizona Republicans charged in the state’s fake elector case appear to be losing in the court of public opinion, even within their own party, according to a new poll.

3 hours ago

Man dead after being struck by a vehicle in Goodyear...

Speed may have been factor in fatal vehicle-pedestrian collision in Goodyear

A pedestrian died after being struck by a vehicle that a juvenile was driving in Goodyear around 6 p.m. on Monday, authorities said.

5 hours ago

Southbound I-17 was closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix for a police situation on May 28, 2024....

Southbound I-17 reopened at Indian School Road in Phoenix after police situation

The southbound lanes of Interstate 17 were closed at Indian School Road in Phoenix on Tuesday morning for a police situation, authorities said.

6 hours ago

Refuge Fire: Arson suspect arrested, given multiple charges...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona man accused of starting fire in wildlife refuge near California border

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office said a man accused of starting the Refuge Fire near the Arizona-California border was arrested.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Here’s how things have changed for people with disabilities after Hacienda