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Hacienda HealthCare to close unit where incapacitated woman was raped

Posted at 4:15 PM, Feb 07, 2019

PHOENIX — Hacienda HealthCare will be closing the unit where an incapacitated woman was raped, became pregnant and gave birth last year.

The decision was made by the company's board of directors.

In a statement, the company said the board "has come to understand that it is simply not sustainable to continue to operate our Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled."

FULL COVERAGE: Hacienda HealthCare investigation

Patients will be transferred out of the facility, a decision which Hacienda said it was working on with state agencies.

"We will continue to work with these agencies in the weeks and months ahead to ensure an appropriate and safe transition moving forward," the company said.

The Department of Economic Security issued the following statement in response to Hacienda's decision:

“This is very disturbing news. We want to find a path forward that is in the best interests of the patients — and this approach is not it. We encourage Hacienda to work with the State to find a path forward. 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.”

Sources told ABC15 Wednesday that state health agencies had been making calls to healthcare providers across the state as a precaution, should patients need to be transferred. Hacienda's statement did not address whether the patients would be moved to other facilities they operate or to ones owned by other companies.

The victim gave birth on December 29. The baby boy is reportedly in good health.

A former nurse at the facility, Nathan Sutherland, has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault. Police say DNA evidence connected from Sutherland and the baby is a match.

In a statement to ABC15, Governor Doug Ducey says the announcement to move patients is “very concerning.”

“We find this announcement very concerning. 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.”