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Hacienda HealthCare board director resigns, internal investigator to terminate contract

Posted at 2:08 PM, Feb 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-01 00:16:19-05

PHOENIX — The director of the board leading a healthcare company that came under scrutiny after police charged a former employee with sexually assaulting an incapacitated patient has announced his resignation on the same day the internal investigator submitted his intent to terminate his contract.

FULL COVERAGE: Hacienda HealthCare investigation

In a statement sent Thursday afternoon, Hacienda HealthCare Board Director Tom Pomeroy announced he was leaving effective March 1 (Friday).

"If Hacienda is to move forward after the deeply disturbing events of the past few months, it’s clear that the organization needs new leadership," Pomeroy said in a statement. "I will continue to support Hacienda’s mission philanthropically, but I will have no formal role with the organization.”

The victim gave birth in late December, which 911 calls released by police show came as a shock to the nurses at the facility.

"There has not been a waking hour in the last two months – since I learned about a baby being born in Hacienda’s Intermediate Care Facility under such awful circumstances – that I haven’t thought about and acted on ways to improve this organization," Pomeroy said. "Hacienda needs to get better, because what Hacienda does is too important to accept such a failure."

Pomeroy, who had served on the board for 38 years, is the second executive to resign after the rape and birth was made public. CEO Bill Timmons resigned January 7th.

Later Thursday evening, former Maricopa County attorney Rick Romley who was contracted as an internal investigator to review Hacienda HealthCare's practices, announced that he submitted his intent to terminate his contract.

"My issues are with the Board of Directors and not with senior management. I felt feel that senior management was making tremendous progress towards addressing many issues but it was the Board of Directors that were the problem," Romley said in an email to ABC15. "As I stated in my initial press conference that if I felt that the Board of Directors would not address the issues appropriately and if I did not have full cooperation then I would resign."

Romley said his review was going to focus on patient-security procedures and management practices to ensure patients don't suffer harm in the future.

TIMELINE: Hacienda sexual assault investigation

Hacienda has since agreed to voluntarily give the Arizona Department of Health Services licensing authority over its operations, and has announced it will close the facility where the rape happened.

After the announcement of Romley terminating his contract, a spokesperson for Governor Doug Ducey's Office issued the following statement:

"The Arizona Department of Health Services was notified late today that some members of senior management staff are no longer with Hacienda, along with the termination of Mr. Romley’s contract. Since then, ADHS has been onsite and coordinating to ensure the health and safety of the patients at their facilities. ADHS is working to gather more details.