Arizona wants long-term care facility where patient was raped to stay open

Arizona wants long-term care facility where patient was raped to stay open

The group that operates an Arizona health care facility where a severely disabled woman was impregnated a year ago will keep the unit open after reaching a deal with state officials, Hacienda HealthCare said Friday.

The facility in Phoenix originally said it would close, however the Arizona Department of Health Services will instead take control of its licensing authority, the Arizona Republic reported Friday.

A view of the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix.

Since the facility is not required to hold a state license, the state can not intervene with the board's decision. The care provider will have to work with an outside health care consultant until the state finds it is in compliance.

"Our agencies will continue to work with Hacienda to implement a voluntary regulatory agreement with strong oversight and accountability measures that ensure safety and quality care going forward for patients", Ptak said in an email.

A nurse at the facility, Nathan Sutherland, 36, was arrested in January after investigators said they had linked him to the case through DNA evidence.

The facility serves infants, children and young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who require a high level of medical care.

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The Arizona Department of Economic Security, which ordered Hacienda to hire a third-party management team to oversee daily operations, responded to the announced closure, saying it did not agree with the decision. "We want to find a path forward that is in the best interests of the patients - and this approach is not it".

Patrick Ptak, a spokesman for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, called the result "good news and the best immediate outcome".

'When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers, ' San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler said on Tuesday. "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". Nathan Sutherland, a nurse whose DNA police said matches a sample from the baby, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped her. "This approach simply does not meet that test".

We don't know about these officials, but if we had a family member at that facility we'd feel MUCH safer if they were placed somewhere else.

'Forcing this medically fragile community to move, should be a last resort.

Under the agreement, Hacienda will have to devise a long-term plan and timeline that prioritizes health and safety at the intermediate care facility where the victim resided.

Hacienda HealthCare received global attention last month after the revelation that the 29-year-old victim, who had been at the facility since age 3, gave birth to a boy on December 29.

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