Healthcare Facility Where Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth to Shut Down

Image: AP

Arizona long-term healthcare facility Hacienda HealthCare, where in December a woman in a vegetative state gave birth, is shutting down.

Hacienda’s board of directors announced the decision on Thursday, writing in a statement to the New York Times, “it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled.” A company spokesperson told the Times that 37 patients will be affected by the move, saying that the company will do “everything in our power” to ensure a smooth transition. However, the company did not reveal any details about how or where it would move its patients, who are children and young adults with intellectual disabilities. 

The woman’s rape has triggered multiple investigations into Hacienda HealthCare’s management and former staff. In January, police matched the baby’s DNA to former Hacienda HealthCare nurse Nathan Sutherland, who has since pled not guilty to charges of sexual assault and child abuse.

In January, former Hacienda HealthCar CEO Bill Timmons resigned. After his resignation, the Arizona Republic reported that the board kept Timmons on despite numerous staff complaints about sexual harassment and bullying. State officials are now investigating the facility’s management for civil rights violations and potential Medicaid fraud.

Despite what seems to be a chronic, systemic failure at Hacienda, state officials are critical of the sudden decision to close the facility. “We find this announcement very concerning,” Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Gov. Doug Ducey, told the Times. “State agencies have been actively working to increase oversight at this facility to ensure patients are safe and well cared for. For some patients at the facility, this is the only home they know or remember. Forcing this medically fragile community to move should be a last resort. Everyone’s first priority should be protecting their health and safety.”

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Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

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