PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The Arizona Department of Health Services said Thursday that Hacienda Healthcare, the embattled care facility where an incapacitated woman gave birth in December 2018, will keep its state license and be allowed to continue operating. In addition, the state has determined that a change in management is not necessary.
Earlier in the day, Hacienda announced that it will keep its Medicaid contract if it meets certain conditions. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service announced in June that it would be pulling that contract, but Hacienda appealed the decision.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Hacienda Healthcare rape investigation]
Hacienda Healthcare was thrust into the spotlight more than a year ago when one of its patients gave birth when nobody at the facility even knew she was pregnant. One of her caregivers, Nathan Sutherland, was later arrested on suspicion of rape after a DNA test proved he is the baby’s father.
[RELATED: Timeline of investigation]
Several months after the surprise birth at Hacienda Healthcare, when the facility was under close scrutiny, maggots were found on another patient. That same day, the state said it was considering stripping Hacienda's license and issued a "Notice of Intent."
“We’ve heard from some people like it looks like we’re on Hacienda’s side, and we are absolutely not on Hacienda’s side. We want them to provide good service,” said Dr. Cara Christ.
“You have a lot of people that look at this and say, well a patient was raped allegedly by her own nurse, she’s at a care facility and somehow nobody knows she’s pregnant, then she gives birth, then another patient is found with maggots on his throat, and people say how could you keep this facility open? What’s your response to that?” asked reporter Briana Whitney.
“The population that Hacienda serves is a very vulnerable population some of the most medically fragile patients we have in the state. We know that moving them puts them at a higher risk for bad outcome or even death,’ said Dr. Christ. “This is not going to be an easy 12-18 months for Hacienda. These agreements have a lot of requirements, a lot of things that need to be done, they’re going to cost a lot of money to Hacienda.”
That'll total at least $200,000 more a year, and the facility will have to bring in a third-party to monitor and oversee inspections within a week.
That third party will be there for a year and a half.
If Hacienda doesn't meet these requirements the state and the federal government could pull their Medicaid funding or issue an intent to revoke their license again.
“What is your message to the families, who have gone through this, the nurses, the doctors, the staff at hacienda who have endured a long a brutal year with everything?” asked Whitney.
“I would say to take comfort in the fact that we are doing everything we can to keep these patients safe and in their home,” Dr. Christ said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.