By TERRY TANG Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) – A long-term care facility in Arizona where an incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth announced Thursday that it would shut down operations.
Officials with Hacienda HealthCare said its board of directors determined it’s not sustainable to keep operating its intermediate care facility in Phoenix. It serves infants, children and young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities who require a high level of medical care.
Hacienda officials said they were working with state agencies to develop a plan to move 37 patients to other centers. Its skilled nursing facility will stay open.
“We will continue to work with these agencies in the weeks and months ahead to ensure an appropriate and safe transition moving forward,” the provider said in a statement. “The care of our patients remains our top priority and we will do everything in our power to ensure a smooth transition for them and their families.”
State regulators, meanwhile, called the decision “disturbing news” and not in the best interest of patients.
“We encourage Hacienda to work with the state to find a path forward,” the Arizona Department of Economic Security said in a statement. “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.”
The state had ordered Hacienda to hire a third-party management team to oversee daily operations after the revelation that an incapacitated woman who lived at the facility since age 3 gave birth on Dec. 29. But Hacienda and the outside party could not come to a long-term agreement.
Authorities have charged Nathan Sutherland, a former licensed nurse, with sexually assaulting the 29-year-old victim. They determined his DNA matched a sample taken from the newborn boy.
Sutherland, 36, pleaded not guilty earlier this week to sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse.
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