Hacienda HealthCare has announced that it would close its 60-bed intermediate healthcare facility, which became infamous after a patient was raped and gave birth under the healthcare’s care.
The company said that its board of directors, “after a great deal of consideration, has come to understand that it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate” the facility, which is situated at 1402 E. South Mountain Drive.
Governor Ducey has strongly resented the decision and called the declaration “concerning” as state agencies have been actively working to increase oversight at the facility to ensure patient safety.
Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak said, “For some patients at the facility, this is the only home they know or remember, forcing this medically fragile community to should be a last resort. Everyone’s priority should be protecting their health and safety.”
Officials with the Arizona Department of Economic Security were also upset about the decision to shut the facility down and stated it as “very disturbing news” and tried to appeal the healthcare facility to work with the State.
Spokeswoman Tasya Peterson in an e-mailed statement said, “We want to find a path forward that is in the best interests of the patients — and this approach is not it.”
She added, “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 nearly their entire lives, they are the ones who should come first, without question. This approach simply does not meet that test.”
As per Hacienda HealthCare’s statement, the board voted for the closure last Friday, and the third party manager hired by the group after being nudged by the State left the very day.
Indiana-based Benchmark Human Services was on site at Hacienda last week, but company officials said that at the end of last week they, “reluctantly stopped this very important effort.”
Ducey’s office stated that it was aware of the board’s vote because Hacienda met with state agencies on Monday morning. Ptak said, though the board’s vote was acknowledged, the health group did neither provide a notice to terminate, nor it did provide a transition plan.
He wrote in a message Thursday evening, “In fact, through today discussions continued around developing an ongoing plan to ensure the care of patients at the facility.”
As per Hacienda HealthCare officials, they will start transitioning clients and eventually will cease to operate the facility.
As per a recent federal survey, Hacienda’s intermediate care facility had 39 patients ranging in age from 16 to 68. Most of the patients were described as “non-ambulatory.” However, as per officials, their patient count is now at 37.
Jon Meyers, executive director of The Arc of Arizona, a non-profit advocacy organization that represents Arizonans with intellectual disabilities said, “given what happened recently it’s not surprising and I don’t think it’s going to break too many people’s hearts that a facility that did such a poor job of taking care of vulnerable adults is no longer in business.”
But the problem lies at the lack of other private alternatives in Arizona for the affected families, which seems to be another disservice to the individuals with intellectual disabilities who rely on them for care.
It should be reported here that State operates all other intermediate healthcare facilities for intellectually disabled people, and most of those facilities can’t handle individuals who are treated at Hacienda.
The families of the patients have only one option of a state-run facility in Coolidge, and it may not have adequate staff numbers and adequate space to accommodate the influx of individuals.
The patient who gave birth is a 29-year-old non-verbal, incapacitated member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe described in court records as needing a “maximum level of care.”
A licensed practical nurse working with Hacienda healthcare was arrested on January 23 and charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.
He has reportedly surrendered his state-licensed practical nurse license on Jan. 24.
After the news broke in, two doctors along with the CEO had to step out. State Medicaid program also sent a letter to the facility to take corrective actions including
- Sexually transmitted disease testing for all residents.
- Pregnancy testing for all females of childbearing age.
- An option for further testing for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, syphilis and HIV.
However, as the case is nearing to its zenith, it is improper for the facility to shut down their services without arranging a substitute for the affected patients. The State should step in and have discussions to retain them.