PHOENIX — Hacienda Healthcare will stop operations of the specialized care unit where an alleged rape of an incapacitated patient occurred, the facility announced Thursday.
On Dec. 29, a woman in her late 20s who has been a patient of Hacienda Healthcare for two decades gave birth. The woman is non-verbal and cannot move on her own. Phoenix police arrested the woman's nurse after a DNA test showed a match between the baby and him.
There are 37 intellectually disabled patients who live in the unit. The decision to close the unit comes after the board of directors could not reach an agreement with a third-party manager to take over as the state demanded.
"After careful consideration, the Board of Directors have come to understand that it is simply not sustainable for us to continue to operate our ICF-ID," an internal staff memo obtained by 12 News read. "Thus, we will begin to transition clients and eventually cease operation."
Hacienda Healthcare released a statement to 12 News confirming the board voted to close the facility. In that statement, Hacienda makes an astonishing claim that it informed the state last Friday that it would be shutting down.
Yet state regulators and the governor have continued to act as if Hacienda wasn't closing. Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Ducey called on Attorney General Mark Brnovich to prosecute Hacienda Healthcare and its leaders after the Department of Economic Security revealed Hacienda failed to hire a manager.
Both the governor's office and DES responded to Hacienda's decision with disapproval.
Ducey's spokesperson Patrick Ptak called the announcement concerning.
"For some patients at the facility, this is the only home they know or remember," he said. "Forcing this medically fragile community to move should be a last resort."
A DES statement echoes the idea that the closure is not good for the more than three dozen patients.
"We encourage Hacienda to work with the State to find a path forward," a statement from DES read. "State agencies are exhausting all efforts to bring this to a conclusion that is beneficial to the patients."
Hacienda said the transition of closing the unit may be a long one. The internal memo told staff that the facility will work closely with Arizona regulators to ensure the safety of the patients affected by the closure.
There are more than 100 employees who work in the ICF-ID unit. The memo also promised to help every employee impacted by the change to secure employment either elsewhere in the company or beyond.