A state government spokesperson says Hacienda HealthCare officials have expressed their intent to accept voluntary regulations from the state's Department of Health Services, meaning the facility will remain open. After one blown deadline after another, with the facility ignoring state orders, Hacienda said yesterday that it would be closing the wing of the facility where the victim and patients like her are housed.
They also mentioned their plan to transition their patients and staffers to other facilities in the area over the next few months.
Hacienda Healthcare said it "as come to understand that it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled" after a board of directors voted on the decision earlier this month, according to AZ Central.
"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 made a decision to close the facility citing the facility's lack of financial viability", the letter said.
A 29-year-old incapacitated woman who has limited mobility and can't speak gave birth at the facility on December 29, prompting police to launch a sexual assault investigation. Sutherland, 36, was a licensed nurse who had worked at the facility since 2011. "We will work with the State closely during this time to ensure every patient's safety, security and care as we will lead up to what eventually will be a sad goodbye to many beloved patients", it said.
In January, state regulators ordered Hacienda HealthCare officials to find a third party-manager for its facilities, and on January 30, officials with Indiana-based Benchmark Human Services say they have been contracted by Hacienda to act as a third-party manager.
"This is very disturbing news".
"Given the high medical risks associated with transferring these patients, moving this medically fragile community is the option of last resort and not the state's goal", the Arizona Department of Economic Security and state Medicaid program said in a joint statement obtained by the Republic.
"We want to find a path forward that is in the best interests of the patients - and this approach is not it", she told the outlet. "They are the ones who should come first, without question". "State agencies are exhausting all efforts to bring this to a conclusion that is beneficial to the patients, some of whom have been at this facility almost their entire lives".
Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, called the result "good news and the best immediate outcome". "This approach simply does not meet that test".
A former nurse at the facility, Nathan Sutherland, has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault. "Everyone's first priority should be protecting their health and safety".
"Our patients, their families, our team members and the community deserve nothing less than this commitment from us", the care provider said.